2:00PM Water Cooler 9/6/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

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Readers, I hope your Labor Day weekend was enjoyable! I accumulated a ton of material over the three-day weekend, and I need to incorporate it now, or I’ll never get out from under. So please check back. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Cozumel Thrasher, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Species suggested by alert reader SV. Energetic little creature! (The bird, not SV.)

* * *

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“You can’t really dust for vomit.” Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap

Biden Administration

“White House requests $47 billion in aid for Ukraine, virus fights and natural disasters” [Politico]. “In the funding request, the White House will seek $11.7 billion in Ukraine security and economic assistance, $2 billion to address the effects of Russia’s war on domestic energy supply, $22.4 billion for the domestic fight against Covid-19 and $3.9 billion for domestic efforts to fight monkeypox — as well as $600 million to combat the monkeypox spread globally. The administration is also requesting $6.5 billion to aid recovery for recent natural disaster events, such as major flooding in Kentucky and wildfires in California.” • Adding:

Oh. So they’re going to codify Obergefell but not Roe v. Wade? Really?

“Biden picks White House veteran to run revived climate drive” [Associated Press]. “President Joe Biden on Friday brought back John Podesta, a behind-the-scenes veteran at getting things done on climate in past Democratic administrations, to put into place an ambitious U.S. climate program newly revived by $375 billion from Congress. Biden named Podesta as a senior adviser, charged with implementing the landmark clean-energy and climate spending under the huge health care and climate bill passed by Congress in August. Podesta will also lead the administration’s climate task force. Further reshaping the White House’s climate team for a significantly more hopeful phase, Biden also announced the departure of his current climate adviser, Gina McCarthy. A former Environmental Protection Agency chief, McCarthy had led Biden’s domestic climate program during Democrats’ two years of struggle — often seeming all but doomed — to get the climate financing through Congress. McCarthy was trusted on Capitol Hill and delayed her departure until Biden could sign the new climate measures into law last month.” • Podesta is 73. I’m verging on gerontocrat status myself, so I can’t get too upset about this — granted, I’m not being asked to run a $375 billion program — but holy [family blog], couldn’t the Democrats find anybody besides a CAP goon and the chair of Clinton’s 2016 campaign?

2022

* * *

“Dems erase GOP’s Senate advantage” [Politico]. “The fight for control of the 50-50 Senate is a toss-up…. A number of factors contributed to Democrats’ resurgence, but the declining national headwinds facing the party are most responsible. Democratic voters are energized after the Supreme Court’s abortion decision, and Donald Trump’s constant presence in the spotlight is driving Democratic anger. Weaker Republican opponents in some states have also played a role: In Arizona, GOP nominee Blake Masters’ struggles since winning the primary last month have moved the state from “Toss Up” to “Lean Democratic” — a reflection of Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s growing lead over Masters. The Arizona shift leaves four “Toss-Up” Senate races — two currently controlled by each party. If neither party wins one of the races where the opposition has an advantage now, Republicans would need to win three of the four “Toss Up” races to wrest control of the majority.” • Of course, the Democrats deserve to be greatly punished (but I’m glad I never jumped on the bandwagon that they would be. I mean, Labor Day is only just past, so the real horse-race has just begun.

“The Coin Is in the Air for the Senate” [Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report]. “One of the primary reasons the president’s party has suffered a net loss of House seats in 36 of the 39 midterm elections since the start of the Civil War is that those in the opposition party are almost always more motivated to vote than those in the president’s party. This had been the case for much of this cycle, but the Dobbs Supreme Court decision, as well as some of the other developments previously mentioned, seemed to put a bit more starch in Democrats’ shorts, all but completely closing the gap, As NBC News Senior Political Editor Mark Murray wrote, “68% of Republicans express a high level of interest in the upcoming election—registering either a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale—versus 66% for Democrats. That 2-point GOP advantage is down from 17 points in March and 8 points in May.” This is a key yardstick, though not the only one, that pollsters use to look at the likely level of voter turnout within each base.” • Cook is a sober commentator; the whole piece is worth a read.

“Biden seeks to separate ‘mainstream’ Republicans from ‘Trumpies’ in Wisconsin speech” [Politico]. • As earlier in Pennsylvania, as I wrote.

2024

“Judge orders halt to DOJ review of documents seized from Trump” [Politico]. “‘Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,’ U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in a 24-page ruling issued on Labor Day. Cannon’s order included permitting a so-called special master to review the seized materials for potential attorney-client and executive privilege. Prosecutors expressed exasperation at Trump’s demand to review for executive privilege, noting that there is no precedent for a former executive to assert privilege to bar review of materials by a sitting executive branch — particularly when the government has determined the need is urgent.” • Seems like a reasonable outcome, given that the FBI investigation is being run by Trump’s political enemies, and they’ve already seized attorney-client privileged documents. Commentary:

I hate to be cynical, but I have to agree.

“Barr suggests Trump ‘deceived’ the government over classified records” [NBC]. If deceiving the government is a crime, there’s gonna be a lot of people in jail, especially from the Beltway. “It’s unclear what was in the classified records taken by Trump or why he took them, and Barr said he couldn’t figure out what Trump’s motives were.’ I can’t think of a legitimate reason why’ the documents were taken, Barr said, swiping at Trump’s defenders who said that he could declassify records en masse by mere verbal or mental fiat. ‘I, frankly, am skeptical of this claim that ‘I declassified everything,’” Barr said. ‘I think it’s highly improbable … if in fact he sort of stood over scores of boxes, not really knowing what was in them, and said, ‘I hereby declassify everything in here.’ That would be such an abuse, and — that shows such recklessness that it’s almost worse than taking the documents.'” First, I think standing over boxes and saying “I declassify everything” is not ipso facto reckless and we should do much more of it (start with JFK, move on to UFOs, and then, as a palate cleanser, whatever the spooks have on Jeffrey Epstien). I realize my attitude would cause a cause of collective verklempt in those wealthy Northern Virginia suburbs we hear so much about, where everybody “works in government,” but come on. Everybody knows overclassification is a serious problem. Also, is Barr a little child? Trump’s obvious motive is RussiaGate (August 29). And I’m not the only one who thinks so (September 1).

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Voting “Not Guilty”: A Toolkit on Jury Nullification” [Beyond Criminal Courts] (PDF). “Jury nullification is a term used to describe a situation when jurors decide to acquit a person of criminal charges even though the person on trial could technically be convicted based on the evidence. Jury nullification is a concrete, practical way that jurors can assert their values and stop people from going to jail or prison, and it is one approach that we can use, alongside many others, to disrupt the carceral state.”

#COVID19

Lambert here: As readers know, I stan for nasal vaccines. The news flow, at least, is increasing:

• ”Starpharma wins recognition for development of COVID-19 antiviral nasal spray” (press release) [Biotech Dispatch]. “

Starpharma (ASX:SPL) has been announced as the winner of the ‘Most Significant Commercial Outcome’ award following the completion of a Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) program backed by the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and MTPConnect. The award recognises the substantial and rapid impact of the company’s novel, broad-spectrum antiviral nasal spray in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starpharma developed and commercialised the novel nasal spray, which is marketed outside Australia as VIRALEZE, within 12 months. It was the first ASX-listed biotech to bring a COVID-19 preventative product to the international market.” • Big if true; I think we’re looking at mouse studies. Here is the site, with the mechanism. It’s apparently available over the counter in the UK. That said, I’m all for low-cost, high-reward approaches. What have we got to lose? Can any Austrialian readers chime in?

• ”Mount Sinai spins out vaccine Castle, preparing to lay siege to infectious diseases” [Fierce Biotech]. Buried in the story: “Mount Sinai reports that interim results from a placebo-controlled, phase 1/2 study of the technology in Thailand found that the nasal vaccine induced higher neutralizing antibodies against the Wuhan strain than the available COVID-19 shots in the U.S. Interim results of a booster study of the nasal spray conducted at Mount Sinai are expected in the fourth quarter, according to CastleVax CEO Matt Stober. The vaccine technology has been transferred to manufacturers in Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam and Thailand, which together could produce more than a billion doses a year.” • A billion doses would be nice. It has occurred to me that nasal vaccines take dead aim at two ginormous monopolies: Big Pharma, especially if the nasal vaccines are sterlizing, as early reporting suggested they would be; and also Big Hospitals, because medical professionals are no longer needed to inject the vaccines with needles. There is also the decreased requirement for a cold chain. Nasal vaccines upset a lot of rice bowls. Hence….? —

• “Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine enters 2nd phase of human trials in Kanpur today” [KnockSense Hindi]. From 30 Aug, 2021. “The second phase of human trials for the intra-nasal COVID vaccine, BBV 154, has started in Kanpur from today onwards. As per reports, this innovative vaccine has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine. Reportedly, the trial centre set up at Prakhar Hospital received ICMR’s approval on Monday and now, the volunteers have been called for this maiden drive…. As per reports, Chief Guide Dr. J.S. Kushwaha, informed that two drops of the nasal vaccine will be introduced in each nostril of the volunteers and they will have to lay down for 5 minutes. After this period, two more drops will be given to them and they will not be permitted to get up for the next 30 minutes. A second dose will be administered, on the same lines, after 28 days. Further, the doctor apprised that the antibody tests will be conducted in two different ways. Besides the saliva samples, 5 mm blood samples will also be collected on the 1st, 28th, 56th, 90th and 180th days. With the help of this, comprehensive antibody reports will be prepared. As per reports, this group consists of non-vaccinated individuals, with or without a history of COVID infection… As per reports, it is anticipated that the third phase trials will be conducted in Kanpur itself.” • Awesome, except I thought, from Bharat’s press release, that BBV154 had already passed its Stage III human trials. NOTE: All that detail about volunteers lying down makes me think there are indeed concerns about administration, a known issue with nasal vaccines. Here is the new study in Clinical Trials:

(Bharat hasn’t released its data, either.)

• ”Barts Health researchers show nasal spray can prevent Covid-19″ (press release) [NHS Barts Health]. “Newly published results from a clinical trial led by Barts Health and Queen Mary University of London researchers show that a nasal spray (pHOXWELL) can reduce infection with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) by 62%. The trial was carried out in India between April to July 2021, the peak surge of the highly infectious Delta variant. It involved 556 participants – 275 used pHOXWELL and 281 used a placebo (i.e. a fake nasal spray) – three times a day. After 45 days, our researchers measured how many antibodies against Covid-19 each person in both groups had. They found that pHOXWELL was safe and that after 45 days, 13.1% of those in the group that used it had antibodies against the Covid-19 virus, compared to 34.5% in the group who received the placebo. This shows that using pHOXWELL dramatically reduces the chances of developing Covid-19. Researchers also found that people who used the nasal spray were less likely to experience symptoms than those given the placebo. No serious side effects were reported in either group and participants noted that the nasal spray was easy to use.”

• “Immunogenicity and protectivity of intranasally delivered vector-based heterologous prime-boost COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in mice and non-human primates” [Emerging Microbes and Infections]. “Here, we demonstrate that the intranasally delivered Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) vaccine induced a robust (no less than 180 days) systemic and local immune response in mice. High immunogenic properties of the vaccine were verified in non-human primates (common marmosets) by marked IgG and neutralizing antibody (NtAb) production in blood serum, antigen-specific T-cell proliferation and cytokine release of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) accompanied by formation of IgA antibodies in the nasal mucosa. We also demonstrate that Sputnik V vaccine can provide sterilizing immunity in K18-hACE2 transgenic mice exposed to experimental lethal SARS-CoV-2 infection protecting them against severe lung immunopathology and mortality.” • Remember, however, that “monkeys exaggerate, but mice lie.”

* * *

• ”New inhaled COVID-19 therapeutic blocks viral replication in the lungs” (press release) [Berkeley News]. “Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have created a new COVID-19 therapeutic that could one day make treating SARS-CoV-2 infections as easy as using a nasal spray for allergies. In a new study published online in the journal Nature Communications, the team shows that these short snippets, called antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), are highly effective at preventing the virus from replicating in human cells. When administered in the nose, these ASOs are also effective at preventing and treating COVID-19 infection in mice and hamsters.” • Therapeutics beyond busts like Paxlovid are good. Getting away from needles is good. The key is the words “one day.”

* * *

• ”Serious adverse events of special interest following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in randomized trials in adults” [Vaccine]. Meta-study. From the Abstract: “The excess risk of serious adverse events found in our study points to the need for formal harm-benefit analyses, particularly those that are stratified according to risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes. These analyses will require public release of participant level datasets.” Indeed they will. And from the body: “Rational policy formation should consider potential harms alongside potential benefits. [29] To illustrate this need in the present context, we conducted a simple harm-benefit comparison using the trial data comparing excess risk of serious [adverse events of special interest (AESIs)] based against reductions in COVID-19 hospitalization. We found excess risk of serious AESIs to exceed the reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations in both Pfizer and Moderna trials.” • Oopsie. Something to consider….

* * *

• ”How covid-19 spreads: narratives, counter narratives, and social dramas” [BMJ]. Worth reading in full. “The official droplet-but-not-airborne narrative materialised as artefacts (such as posters, disinfectant dispensers, and 2 metre distancing markers) and social practices (actions accepted and expected in particular contexts). Droplet directed practices became ubiquitous, as people washed hands and forearms assiduously for 20 seconds, quarantined and disinfected their post, and stayed a measured distance apart, and institutions installed and policed the various artefacts and practices. These rituals of purification powerfully reinforced the official narrative. ‘Clean’ and ‘contaminated’ came to be demarcated in terms of how recently and thoroughly hands had been sanitised and how far a droplet was assumed to travel. The same rituals served to downplay or obscure the narrative of aerosol transmission—which demarcated clean and contaminated in terms of air purity, with practices oriented to controlling indoor crowding and time spent indoors, ventilating or filtering air, and optimising quality and fit of masks. These material and enacted features of policy discourse served to silence further the narrative that SARS-CoV-2 is airborne.” • The tragic and unnecessary consequences:

You still see people cleaning surfaces in good faith, because of CDC and WHO’s droplet goons controlled the “scientific” messaging.

• Maskstraganza:

Makes me wish there’s a Hell.

* * *

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.

* * *

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

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 nominal 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 ~83,350. Today, it’s ~65,850 and 65,850 * 6 = a Biden line at 395,100 per day. (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. If you look at the Fauci line, you will see that despite the bleating and yammering about Covid being “over,” we have only just recently reached the (nominal) case level of November 1, 2021, and we are very far from that of July 1, 2021. And the real level is much worse.

Lambert here: The fall in case count looks impressive enough. What the Fauci Line shows, however, is that we have at last achieved the level of the initial peak, when New York was storing the bodies in refrigerator trucks. So the endzone celebrations are, to my mind, premature. Not that anyone will throw a flag. Of course, the real story is in the charts for California and the South. See below.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

I assume Labor Day data issues, but again, the rest of the South doesn’t have the wild gyrations that Texas and Florida do.

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

Doing pretty well!

The West:

More backward revisions. Labor Day weekend data issues?

Wastewater

Wastewater data (CDC), August 30:

California isn’t reporting anything, so we have no cross-check on its recent fall in case count. This is beyond absurd, even for the eugenicist buffoons who run CDC.

For grins, August 29:

• ”Wastewater surveillance becomes more targeted in search for poliovirus, monkeypox and coronavirus” [CNN]. “Some disease detectives in the United States are narrowing their wastewater surveillance efforts to zero in on specific buildings and to identify hot spots for a growing list of diseases. ‘Some wastewater surveillance is done at the community level, and some is done at the building level, which is a little bit better nuanced in terms of trying to target messaging,’ said Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. ‘For example, in some of our jurisdictions, they’ll monitor a large hotel or a prison setting,’ she said. ‘If it pops up there, you can target messaging directly to that building.’ A building-level approach to wastewater surveillance is underway at all 11 hospitals within the NYC Health + Hospitals integrated health care system in New York City.” • An obvious solution for college and university dorms, too.

Positivity

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 6:

-2.7%. The downward trend inside the red circle is actually encouraging.

Transmission

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.

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. (This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.)

This is actually still improving. More yellow in the Plains states and the Mountain states.

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 30:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 30:

Lots of green, which should make the hospital-centric goons at the Centers for Disease happy. Then again, Light Green is trending down, and Dark Green is straight down. What I would like to see is a lot of Dark Green. But I’m not.

NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays.

Variants

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].

Lambert here: The last real — i.e., not modeled — data from CDC is August 6. That’s such a ginormous derelection I don’t even know what to say. Basic disrespect for honest, hardworking Americans trying to make their “personal risk assessments.” How on earth are people supposed to do that without variant data? Do the morons at CDC think BA.5 is going to be the last?

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), August 20:

Still no sign of BA2.75 at Walgreens, despite its success in India and presence in Bay Area wastewater.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), August 13 (Nowcast off):

Still no sign of BA2.75.

Stats Watch

Logistics: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US fell for a fifth month to 59.7 in August of 2022, the lowest since May of 2020, from 60.7 in July mostly on falling demand. Although the index shows the overall logistics industry continues to expand, the rate of growth is now 16.5 points down from March when we saw an all-time high reading of 76.2. This is the largest slide we have seen over a five-month period in the history of the index.”

Services: “United States ISM Non Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “he ISM Services PMI unexpectedly edged higher to 56.9 in August of 2022 from 56.7 in July, beating market forecasts of 55.1, and pointing to the strongest growth in services activity in four months.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “Conspiracy Brokers: Understanding the Monetization of YouTube Conspiracy Theories” [Association for Computing Machinery]. From the Abstract: “We collect 184,218 ad impressions from 6,347 unique advertisers found on conspiracy-focused channels and mainstream YouTube content. We classify the ads into business categories and compare their prevalence between conspiracy and mainstream content. We also identify common offsite monetization methods. In comparison with mainstream content, conspiracy videos had similar levels of ads from well-known brands, but an almost eleven times higher prevalence of likely predatory or deceptive ads. Additionally, we found that conspiracy channels were more than twice as likely as mainstream channels to use offsite monetization methods, and 53% of the demonetized channels we observed were linking to third-party sites for alternative monetization opportunities. Our results indicate that conspiracy theorists on YouTube had many potential avenues to generate revenue, and that predatory ads were more frequently served for conspiracy videos.” • YouTube, good job. Maybe focus on the predatory advertising rather than content. Just a thought.

Mr. Market: Committed to the bit:

NOTE: Zelensky will virtually ring the bell. He’s not in New York checking out real estate.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 Fear (previous close: 42 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 6 at 1:42 PM EDT.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Climate. “It’s very rare for this category to be at the maxium rating” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.). Finally, climate. I like “maxium,” because it menas a human is reallly doing this.

The Gallery

I wonder if anybody is photographing European LNG terminals and pipelines right now:

The source for kawaii?

Uncanny valley?

I haven’t seen any AI-generated art that isn’t creepy and bad (that goes for NFTs, too). McLuhan was right — I paraphrase, perhaps incorrectly — that media is amputating. Art AI will amputate our human ability to make art for itself. AI should be killed with fire (especially because we don’t know how it works and can’t maintain it).

Successor ideology assaults the museum label:

These labels talk down to the reader more than any musty scholarship ever did.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Musical interlude:

Guillotine Watch

“The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse” [Guardian]. Holy [family blog]:

They started out innocuously and predictably enough. Bitcoin or ethereum? Virtual reality or augmented reality? Who will get quantum computing first, China or Google? Eventually, they edged into their real topic of concern: New Zealand or Alaska? Which region would be less affected by the coming climate crisis? It only got worse from there. Which was the greater threat: global warming or biological warfare? How long should one plan to be able to survive with no outside help? Should a shelter have its own air supply? What was the likelihood of groundwater contamination? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.

This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from raiders as well as angry mobs. One had already secured a dozen Navy Seals to make their way to his compound if he gave them the right cue. But how would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?

The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time”.

I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.

This was probably the wealthiest, most powerful group I had ever encountered. Yet here they were, asking a Marxist media theorist for advice on where and how to configure their doomsday bunkers. That’s when it hit me: at least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology.

And no doubt these billionaires are arranging their portfolios — financial and human — for optimal results before, during, and after “the event.” No doubt the continuity of government people are thinking along similar lines:

Class Warfare

“Long Covid Is Keeping Millions Of People Out Of Work” [William Haseltine, Forbes]. “The experience of each person who is afflicted with Long Covid is often unique. Some may have more severe and disabling symptoms that prevent them from working entirely, some may have milder symptoms or employer accommodations that allow them to maintain their regular employment, some may work reduced hours or some may be forced by dire financial circumstances to keep working despite severe illness. A July 2021 study from the Patient-Led Research Collaborative found only about 27% of long Covid patients worked as many hours as they did before falling ill, and approximately 23% weren’t working at all, as a direct result of long Covid. In order to accommodate these diverse experiences in their estimates, Brookings drew data from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, United Kingdom’s Trades Union Congress, and a Lancet study about the extent of work reductions. This data resulted in estimates of 2 million, 3 million, and 4 million full-time equivalent workers out of the labor force due to Long Covid. The midpoint of this range (3 million full-time equivalent workers) is 1.8% of the entire U.S. civilian labor force.” • Nothing special about Forbes, but this is a good aggregation.

News of the Wired

Justine Haupt’s rotary cell phone:

Really awesome. I like the idea of being out from under location tracking, and I especially like getting four bars in the boonies (which Haupt can accomplish because she doesn’t have to cram a tiny antenna into a tiny case). This project cannot have been easy!

* * *

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 Carla:

Carla writes: “The marshmallows are blooming at Shaker Nature Center in NE Ohio. Marshmallow root was traditionally used to give marshmallow candies their characteristic sponginess. It is used to treat many illnesses & conditions around the world. August 2022.”

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About Lambert Strether

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

151 comments

    1. nippersmom

      Comment from someone on a Green Bay Packers fan site I frequent: Liz Truss. Every time I see her name, I think hernia.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I think hernia

        I remember the old black and white ads in the back of magazines. They looked like this, although this is an ad for a truss competitor:

        “Throw away those gouging, torturing trusses.” Indeed!

        Reply
  1. madarka

    Just left my donation. NC is invaluable to me, I’ve been a regular reader since 2008, and this site’s relevance, quality and sheer prescience has only increased. My thanks to you all, Yves, Lambert and the mods. Maybe one day the starts will align and you’ll convene a meet up, like in the halcyon days of 2019.

    Reply
    1. Carla

      Yes, the Cleveland meetup with Yves in June 2019 was really great! Members of the commentariat traveled from Michigan, Ontario, and all over Ohio to attend.

      Reply
  2. griffen

    Life imitating art. Pretty sure there is at least one episode of Futurama where former Presidents and maybe world leaders were kept alive, shoulders on up of course.

    Instead of former Presidents sitting lonely in a memorial park (and now in a desolated field), America is erecting life size status of recently matriculated football players. See, Oklahoma and it’s recent addition of the statue of Baker Mayfield, who starred at the QB position.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      I find myself thinking of how they stacked up those USSR statues after the fall.

      I think some 007 computer game even turned it into a level.

      Reply
      1. Swamp Yankee

        Yup! The Nintendo 64 Game “Goldeneye,” circa 1998, based off of the 1995 film of the same name, with Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Judi Dench, Famke Janssen, and Izabella Scorupco!

        The ex-Soviet statue park was a fun and scary/spooky level.

        Reply
  3. digi_owl

    I just caught myself wondering if Zelensky is still in Ukraine because that is the only way his Azov handlers can ensure he will not make a run for it.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The NATO strategy was Russia would collapse in the face of white unity…European unity. I think Zelensly if he was in Poland was sent back by April, but besides Azov, NATO wants him there.

      Reply
  4. Mark Gisleson

    There’s a marketing guru who writes a weekly column I usually enjoy. This week he wrapped up one of his ‘series of three’ columns using something from Ukrainian propaganda as his third example:

    At the beginning of 2022, there was a 4-mile line of Russian tanks outside Kyiv, everyone waited for the inevitable overwhelming assault, but it never came.

    The Russians thought it was a brilliant coup to outflank the Ukrainians and unleash an unstoppable tank attack against their capital.

    But in concentrating on tactical brilliance they forgot the basics.

    There were no plans in place to supply a 4-mile long column of tanks.

    When they began sending fuel trucks it was easy for the Ukrainians to destroy them.

    There is now lots of footage on YouTube of Ukrainian farmers laughing as they stole the deserted Russian tanks for scrap.

    I left a comment trying to get him to correct this baloney but he thinks I just have a different “viewpoint.” To the best of my daily NC reading recall, literally no part of this is true. But to confirm his take, he shared a link to a mid-March Ukrainian propaganda video showing tractors hauling tanks away.

    I honestly don’t know how to respond to someone who’s swallowed the West’s fake news so completely. I’ve heard no one is easier to sell to than someone who works in sales, but I’ve never heard anyone say that marketing experts are easier to sell propaganda to.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      I found myself thinking of a British tv drama that claimed that the easiest target to con was criminals thinking themselves too smart to be fooled.

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        “The Rogues”? Gig Young, Charles Boyer and David Niven?

        [facepalm] Now that I think about it, there was also a little known movie called “The Sting.”

        And now I’m going to spend the rest of the day thinking about all the times my marketing-sharpened mind got roped in by some slick copy.

        Reply
    2. Joe Well

      How could anyone believe that the Ukrainian government would just allow Ukrainian farmers to steal actual tanks and then sell them for scrap?

      And how exactly would farmers steal tanks? Did the Russians leave the keys in the ignition? Can you imagine how heavy a tank is? (Apparently the US M1 tank is 56,245 kg.)

      As is sometimes said here, the stupid, it burns.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Tanks and so forth have guards, not keys. If the guy with the keys is MIA, you would have a problem, hence no keys.

        It’s a dumb story, but yeah, military vehicles are meant to be driven by whoever is available.

        We are getting a new slew of Ukrainian farmer stories though.

        Reply
      2. Polar Socialist

        Would it help it someone said that most of the tanks in question were Ukrainian and the farmers were perhaps asked to haul them somewhere safer. Like Ukrainian or DNR depot, depending on which side the tank was left.
        Back in March especially the DNR militia was really keen on salvaging Ukrainian tanks. I believe Patrick Lancaster has several videos about that. He even interviewed the crews salvaging the tanks while one was being hauled around on the background.

        Reply
    3. Geo

      “Don’t know how to respond to someone who’s swallowed the West’s fake news so completely.“

      Have had similar conversations with a various people over the years. For me, the wake up call was the “war on terror” and watching a nation get absorbed in such obvious lies. Will remind people of those lies, then the prior incubator babies of Kuwait, the Iran Contra scandal, gulf of Tonkin, then to more recent ones examples of manufactured excuses for war. If they acknowledge those lies then ask “why is it different this time?” And “When was the last time we’ve been told the real reason for a war?”

      It doesn’t always work but at least sows the seeds of doubt into the narrative they believe.

      As for why someone seemingly smart would buy into it: the most clear example I’ve read is that those who benefit from a system have a lot at stake believing the system is fair and righteous. From Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” where he discusses the “non-political middle class” to Upton Sinclair’s “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” All point to this idea. Why would someone question the rules of a game they are winning?

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the wake up call was the “war on terror” and watching a nation get absorbed in such obvious lies.

        For me, it was playing whack-a-mole with the Bush Administration’s WMD campaign. As soon as we destroyed one, another one, even stupider, would pop right up. All the way to Colin Powell at the UN!

        NOTE The definitive timeline for Bush’s WMD campaign is Col. Sam Gardner’s “Truth from These Podia,” periodically unavailable online — what a surprise! — but now at the National Security Archive.

        Man oh man, the headline for The Blob of today writes itself, doesn’t it [suspense-filled pause]:

        Truth From These Pseudopodia

        I’ll get right on it!

        Reply
      2. Pat

        I was long lost, the lead up to the Iraq invasion did that and it was not remotely as bad as this Ukraine propaganda blitz has been, but one of the things I use when pointing out how captured our press is to a storyline not the facts or truth is the faux exit from Iraq. When I started citing it the clips were more widely available to show how fatuous it all was, but it is that leading light of truth and resistance Rachael Maddox in flak jacket and helmet “reporting” about it as she travels with troops leaving Iraq. My favorite bit is reminding people that even as she was fan girling about historic days and ends, it was already known that not all the troops would be leaving.
        But that couldn’t be, and wasn’t, mentioned by Maddox during any of the shows she broadcast from Iraq. It didn’t fit the we are leaving or feed the ridiculous image that this was a victory.

        Reply
  5. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added a plethora of orts and scraps. It’s worth checking out the Covid section again if you already looked at it once; there’s a lot of new material on nasal vaccines. Yay!

    Reply
    1. Geo

      As a cynical person who rarely is stunned by the failures of the leadership class, I am truly stunned the Dems and Biden haven’t pushed for an “Operation Warp Speed” for these nasal vaccines. Remember reading in NC early on that this was looking to be the best method and expected something to come of it. Guess they gotta let Pfizer/Moderna milk the current cash cow as long as possible. That’s my take at least. Wouldn’t want them complaining about competing products… especially if those competing products actually work!

      https://cen.acs.org/policy/intellectual-property/Moderna-sues-Pfizer-BioNTech-over/100/web/2022/08

      Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        Are you really that surprised? The Democrats aren’t allowed to suggest any sort of Operation Warp Speed because the Republicans will shut it down as reckless spending. [The chance was over as soon as Biden declared Mission Accomplished, and ended the emergency.] Republicans, on the contrary, will suggest huge programs to their own liking when they are in charge, and the Democrats usually agree to these, especially in a crisis.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          They could call it Operation Nasal Fortress.

          But ” Republican opposition to the spending” is not the real reason for not warp-speeding the nasal sterilizing vaccines. It is just a handy cover excuse.

          The real reason for not warp-speeding the sterilizing nasal vaccines is that the Establishment wants to spread covid to everyone, over and over and over again, on purpose and with malice aforethought. Sterilizing nasal vaccines would prevent covid from spreading, and that is one kind of prevention which the establishment means to prevent.

          Preventive health? No! Health prevention!

          Putting the architects and beneficiaries of the “spread covid on purpose” policy at personal risk for their physical survival would get them to change the policy. But who has the power to reach out and touch them all?

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Actually, people calling for it could call it Operation Stop The Spread . . . . as in Stop the Spread of Covid.

            Then the forces of government and public anti-health could be cornered into admitting that the reason they would oppose nasal vaccination development is because they support spreading Covid and therefor oppose anything that would slow Covid down. Like nasal vaccination.

            So ” Operation Stop The Spread” could be very clarifying if it could first be viralised into the minds of millions who would then demand to know WHY the establishment wants to spread covid and WHY the establishment opposes slowing the spread of covid?

            Reply
    2. katiebird

      I am excited by the nasal vaccine news. But wonder how workable they are for people with moderately stuffy noses. Maybe that’s why we’ll have to lie down for the process? sounds worth it to me!!

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > wonder how workable they are for people with moderately stuffy noses.

        Delivery through injection is much, much simpler. But needles and the entire logistical and institutional apparatus that surrounds needles are required. Not so for nasal vaccines.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If nasal vaccines become legal, accepted and available in countries very near to America ( Mexico? the Caribbean?), there could be a huge slow silent swell of “vaccine tourism” on the part of covid-realist Americans ” in the know” to those countries to get the nasal vaccines.

        The American authorities will try to persecute such vaccine tourism out of existence because it would slow the spread of covid among the nasally vaccinated vaccine tourist Americans who go to neighboring nasal-vaccine countries to get nasally vaccinated against covid. The American authorities will also try sanctioning, threatening, persecuting any such countries out of permitting Americans to come to their countries to get nasal covid vaccines. The American authorities will also use every form of digital surveillance to track and discover any/every American who gets nasally vaccinated in order to legally persecute them at leisure to discourage other Americans from doing the same thing.

        Covid-realist Americans and potential nasal-vaccine-tourism destination countries will have to try finding ways to cover up and hide their activities at the level of personal traceability. American vaccine-tourist wannabes will have to be willing to pay enough to make such expensive counter-intelligence activity worthwhile to the potential nasal-vaccine-tourism destination countries.

        Such an anti-health persecution and oppression reality may bring thousands and then millions of Americans closer to the point of genuinely wishing to see terminal kinetic action undertaken with extreme prejudice against the authors and enforcers of such anti-vaccination-tourism policies.

        Reply
  6. dougie

    Not know for my patience, I asked my wife how long she thought it would take for me to apply a hammer to that cute lil “build it yourself” rotary phone kit. Her reply? “Depends on how difficult it is to open the package.”

    Intriguing device, though…..

    Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        I hate smart phones and carrying an ancient Nokia phone identifies me a a weirdo, so this will continue my phone habits.

        I will take the phone kit to UBreakIFix and have them put it together.

        She is making a users manual. I am VASTLY more patient about dealing with new thingies with an actual printed manual.

        Reply
        1. orlbucfan

          Someone is including an actual printed Users Manual with their phone? I thought that went out with the dinosaurs. It’s a sore point with me, too.

          Reply
    1. Angie Neer

      I am completely awed by the dedication and ingenuity required to make that thing. Justine Haupt is my new role model.

      Reply
  7. fresno dan

    The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time”.

    I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.
    ==========================================
    Geez – the answer is right there in the Dr. Strangelove clip – 10 females for every male…

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      The whole exchange got me thinking of some show i ran into “recently” (time flies these days): Into the Badlands.

      Loosely based on Journey to the West, but set in a post-apocalyptic USA.

      For a nation based on rejecting royalty, USA sure loves to create their own either in real life or fictional.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        A century ago, American women were notorious in England for being the most desperate to being introduced at Court.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          Yeah i recall first running into this with regards to some show about the gilded era, and how the wealthy industrialists of USA would try to get their daughters married into European aristocracy.

          I kinda wish i could find it again but all i recall is that it included a boat trip near New York to look at the mansions built by those families.

          Reply
    2. griffen

      Seems like I had read that column or maybe it just my imagination, might have been the same author however. It is interesting to think of the long term, and what surely those uber wealthy take for granted as merely a commerce exchange will perhaps be less of a relationship if or when the so called event happens. Their employees / mercenary army may decide to go rogue.

      Going to gin up another mention for the Road by Cormac McCarthy. Such a depressing landscape in that movie.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Turns out it was featured on NC in 2018

          The Guardian article was dated 2022. One can’t remember every little thing, and in any case, why should we have to, when “fundamentally nothing will change”?

          Reply
    3. BradK

      Cory Doctorow wrote a short story about ultra-rich survivalist. It’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ and appears in his book Radicalized. Not to spoil the ending, but the survivalist lost.

      Reply
    4. semper loquitur

      I cannot recall where I read it, probably here, but I think there was a RAND study done that demonstrated that most of these ventures end in cannibalism or some such. Things break, accidents happen, and suddenly you are trapped in your vault with hungry and angry underlings. A man without hope is a man without fear. This all stinks of techno-fetishism, the notion that there is a contraption for every problem.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Illionaire: ‘Garçon, what is on the bunker menu tonight?’

        Garçon: ‘You are, they say we taste like chicken…’

        Reply
    5. Geo

      A few decades ago I was working a job with a guy who was a ex-con survivalist tough guy and we had lots of intriguing conversations on loads of subjects. One one particular day the subject of social collapse came up and he said first thing he’d do is use his truck and guns to acquire as much gas and as many women as he could because:
      “Bullets are power, gas keeps you going, and women are currency.”

      From that moment on I understood I want no part of any society in collapse because it will be guys like him who become our ruling war lords. Any nearby sustainable off-grid eco village will become his, any co-op community of do-gooders will serve at his whim.

      These billionaires seem to realize their current wealth only gives them power in this system as it has been designed. I don’t think they truly understand this is the only system they have power in. As J.G. Frazier wrote about ancient gods: “The god at the beginning of an era becomes a demon at the end of the era.”

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That Ruskoff piece was one that said to me, “The end is closer.”

        Yeah, at some point the power shifts from those with lots of digits in their bank account to those with guns they can count on. That sort of society can’t last very long though, because any kind of productive activity will be almost impossible, especially in a society that has been as de-skilled as ours. Putting a gun to someone’s head doesn’t make them capable of performing the task you’ve assigned them.

        At some point, if the remnant of humans that survives is to continue, there will have to be a refocus on production (like food) rather than the acquisition of wealth and power. Cooperation and the sharing of knowledge will take the place of power and currency.

        Or else.

        Reply
        1. Geo

          I agree it would reach that point eventually but it wouldn’t be within my lifetime, or even a few lifetimes, in my opinion at least.

          “The more the drive toward life is thwarted, the stronger is the drive toward destruction; the more life is realized, the less is the strength of destructiveness. Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived life.” – Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom (1941)

          Just looking at the state of so many societies in collapse and the depths they must reach before attempts at positive change happens… usually civil war, genocide, etc… I don’t see a positive road for society as so many forces drive it downward. The biggest threat being our own disregard for the well-being and interconnectedness of life (human, animal, ecosystems, etc).

          The optimist in me thought there was a chance early on in the Covid lockdown that the seeds of the change you mention could sprout but it was clear within a few weeks that, while some were reflecting inward and finding a shared humanity, a large sector was going feral. From anti mask lunacy to pro-vax piety, primal tribalism went wild. I should have learned my lesson back when I thought maybe 9/11 would be a time to reflect on our role in the world and lead through forgiveness and rehabilitation but instead we chose bombast and revenge. Dumb mistake. I thought others in our oft-labeled “xtian nation” had read the words of Jesus and his sermon on the mount when all they know of him is from the cherry-picked exciting final chapter of revelations when all the bad people suffer and all the good people ascend.

          Anyway, too many want to live in the end times of Revelations and not enough want to embrace the golden rule. We’ve had a few millennia to prove that time and time again.

          Reply
      2. hk

        Common theme in Russian Osterns. Granted, there’s a fair bit of Bolshevik propaganda there–e.g. most warlord-villains in those movies are whitist commanders duting the Civil War, but their themes seem to arise from Russians’ deeply held fear of anarchy and what’d ensue if public authority broke down.

        Reply
    6. smashsc

      That just reminded me of the scene from The Mandibles where they come across the fully-stocked bunker where someone on the inside had accessed the weapons store & wiped everyone out.

      Reply
    7. Mikel

      Makes you wonder how much food & water has already been and is being hoarded by them because they are scared.
      We better start recognizing….

      Reply
    8. eg

      These jokers think they’re so smart, yet they can’t handle a social challenge solved thousands of years ago via the comitatus?

      Reply
    9. OnceWereVirologist

      Love the desperation to think up crackpot schemes to avoid the obvious and inevitable need for partnership and cooperation in a small-scale society. There’s a reason why traditional tribal societies are cooperative societies with “big men” rather than absolute monarchs.

      Code locks on the food : Why wouldn’t your security just torture the combination out of you ?
      Disciplinary collars : Are they supposed to be linked to your heartbeat via some kind of dead man’s switch ? Because a bullet to the head is a lot quicker than a rummage through your pockets to find your punishment button. And if they are, a blackjack to the back of the head gets around your dead man’s switch and is still quicker than a rummage through your pockets to find your punishment button.
      Robots : Good luck sourcing the physical resources to keep a herd of robots operational in a society that has devolved to the scale of individual armed compounds. Not to mention the necessity of being a savant-level genius – you can hardly hand out the technical knowledge of how to program and maintain your robots to underlings without risking them making themselves the new overlord. You’d probably have to do it all yourself.

      Reply
  8. Joe Well

    Re: StarPharma/Viralese anti-covid nasal spray

    A few months ago, I compared this against Sanotize/Enovid/Fabispray and decided to go with Sanotize, but now I can’t remember why. Sanotize has a number of clinical trials in its favor, though all conducted by the company itself.

    The ten bottles of Fabispray I ordered from India at $11 USD each plus $35 shipping finally cleared customs. I am hopeful for them but still using masks and avoiding indoor dining and things like that.

    Also have some bottled of Betadine gargle just in case I noticed anything going on with my throat.

    I am very interested in this topic and would love to hear others’ opinions, even if you think my bottles of Fabispray are worthless, it’s better to know.

    Reply
    1. Stubbew

      I ordered Enovid when it was first mentioned here, but my bottles were seized at customs by the FDA. I continue to get quite a bit of paperwork about the seizure – another few letters arrived today.

      The Israeli company refunded me promptly when told of this, so no complaints there.

      I have not used any of these products. I was interested enough to try to purchase them, then research them in more depth once they arrived.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I ordered Enovid when it was first mentioned here, but my bottles were seized at customs by the FDA. I continue to get quite a bit of paperwork about the seizure – another few letters arrived today.

        What?! Did they say why?

        Reply
      2. Joe Well

        That’s awful!

        What do the letters say? How many bottles? This is my best hope against COVID right now so I am concerned.

        I have had one shipment of two bottles from Israel via DHL and one shipment of ten from India via EMS, the second held at customs for 10 days but no sign the package was opened and no reason given.

        Reply
  9. Jonhoops

    “I haven’t seen any AI-generated art that isn’t creepy and bad (that goes for NFTs, too). McLuhan was right — I paraphrase, perhaps incorrectly — that media is amputating. Art AI will amputate our human ability to make art for itself. AI should be killed with fire (especially because we don’t know how it works and can’t maintain it).”

    The horse is out of the barn so we are going to have live with it. The latest Midjourney and Dall-e are pretty damn good.

    As an artist who has had to adapt to multiple technological job destroying shifts, I just see another cool tool to learn. At the end of the day it will just become another tool for people to use. Sure there will be a bunch of one prompt images flooding social media, but there will also be artists using it to accelerate and enhance their processes and art.

    Railing against this is akin to the people who decried the spread of digital photography and the demise of the Film.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The horse is out of the barn so we are going to have live with it.

      Why? And who do you mean, we? (NFTs aren’t doing so well; that’s because the business model is fraud. No doubt the same will come to be said of AI.)

      > Railing against this is akin to the people who decried the spread of digital photography and the demise of the Film.

      This is silly. AI proponents want to abolish the photographer, not the photograph. Start with the relatively trivial matter of destroying art-making as a business. But one ends with destroying art-making as a human capacity. On the bright side, post-event squillionaires will be able to decorate the interiors of their bunkers with ease….

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        What if someone offered you free state-of-the-art computer glasses that really worked and were wonderful but the catch was that everything you saw with these glasses belonged to the manufacturer. Every image, all the geodata and incidental information gathering.

        Assume these glasses are only available for free. Would you want a pair? Extra incentive: all Android and Apple gear would get futzy right about this time.

        [My apologies for this dark thought but Philip K. Dick has been living inside my head for nearly fifty years now. I try not to share but sometimes I just have to.]

        Reply
      2. Jonhoops

        Agree that NFTs are a fraud. I was talking about the art generating AI’s.

        Tell me how we are going to put the algorithms back in the bottle. They present an irresistible business case for accelerating image creation and lowering the cost of art to almost zero.

        They are proliferating at an insane speed, unfortunately as an artist I have to figure out how to deal with that.

        Railing against it is a pretty useless strategy so I’ll have to find a new niche, perhaps creating the best AI prompts to decorate those squillionaire bunkers.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > They present an irresistible business case for accelerating image creation and lowering the cost of art to almost zero.

          You make my case for me (and “art” is question-begging. I don’t think a machine can produce art (no quotes) any more than a machine can produce love, or for that matter sex. Not everything can be digitized, although of course simulacra can be produced).

          > creating the best AI prompts to decorate those squillionaire bunkers.

          Not a job I would want. And of course the AI would work out how reproduce your prompts in any case, or a hacked would steal them, or a platform would grab them. So good luck with that.

          Reply
    2. semper loquitur

      Yeah, except these, and many other, AI aren’t being presented as just tools, in many instances they are being presented as artists. There was a video posted here a few months back in which two artists cheerily agreed that the algorithm spitting out images onto their monitors counted as an artist because “It’s so cool looking!” without a clue that they were looking at their own dissolution. It’s another fudge, in an age of fudgey swirls, that tries to blur the lines of what it means to be a human. With a profit motive at it’s heart.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        …just wait until that Boston Dynamics pooch can put the hurt on you with an RPG while creating a masterpiece in black velvet of canines cheating @ cards

        Reply
    3. Louiedog14

      Q: How many blues musicians does it take to change a lightbulb?

      A: Eight. One to roll up the joint, one to change the bulb, and six to sit around talking about how they liked the old lightbulb better than the new one.

      That’s my camp and I’m sticking with it.

      Incandescence is better than LED
      Analog is better than digital
      Paint is better than pixels
      Hell, acoustic is better than electric

      Art is about being human dammit. The farther we stray from expressing ourselves as humans, the more we allow ourselves to be mere appendages of “tools” we don’t really understand, the less human we become.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I remember reading recently about efforts to make incandescent light bulbs energy-efficient. Till these efforts, the classic incandescent emitted EM radiation across a smooth spectrum, from the infrared to the visible. Most of their emitted energy was infra-red, which we can’t see. So it is wasted from a visibility standpoint.

        Someone thought to coat the inside of the glass bulb part of the light bulb with a material which is transparent to visible light but reflective to infra red light, thereby reflecting all the infra-red light emitted right back to the filament, thereby allowing it to stay hot enough to emit EM radiation over its whole emission spectrum without losing the infra-red majority of it, thereby needing much less energy to stay hot enough to emit light.

        So I went online to look it up and it is there and it is real. Here is a link.
        https://tlo.mit.edu/technologies/high-efficiency-incandescent-lighting

        So maybe we will get to have our incandescent light bulb cake both ways and eat it too.

        Reply
    4. Geo

      “Railing against this is akin to the people who decried the spread of digital photography and the demise of the Film.”

      Not at all like that. More like people who decried the spread of the automobile and the demise of horse & buggy. Unfortunately in this scenario, humans are the horse and art is the buggy. Art will continue in its new mechanical form but the human element will be put to pasture.

      Of course, much of this can be allotted to the commodification of art and related lack of appreciation for actual art. We’ve replaced entertainment for art in our culture and this means we reward art that appeals to us and reject art that challenges us. (Can be said about most aspects of our commodified society).

      This is where the dilemma resides: those who look to art as a career will be outsourced to AI, those who look to art as a passion will continue to make art, but will there be any audience left for those artists who remain? Great art only exists when there are great audiences there to appreciate it. If art is about aesthetics and pop culture references then it is a dead medium. Sadly, many of our notable contemporary artists have fed into this demise and acquired great fame and wealth doing so.

      Also, as I’ve been shouting from my lonely soapbox for a decade-plus, the AI revolution won’t outsource manual labor first, it will be those who work in ideas and data – the paper pushers and content makers – of which I am one. The past decades for me have not been about becoming better at the tech behind my art but about creating a distinctive voice in the hopes that this skill will separate me from the machines (whose tech prowess has been increasing exponentially) long enough to merit some currency value for my skill set.

      Often I hear the song of John Henry with a hammer in his hand as the sound of the steam engine fast approaches and wonder if my time of relevance is up.

      Reply
      1. Bob White

        I will throw another idea into the mix…
        During my experience over the years as a semi-pro photographer, I noticed the trend of people turning the camera (usually a phone) around to show themselves in the scene (selfie), as opposed to capturing the scene for it’s beauty (or message). This narcissistic behavior has expanded quite a bit, naturally becoming very popular. The next AI art project will be to replace the “influencers”… no tears shed for them, though.

        Reply
        1. Geo

          Very good point. I know many photographers who feel their work has so little value in this current environment where “influencers” dominate the advertising world, all phones have cameras and retouching apps, and the daily barrage of images has cheapened the very idea of what I photo even means.

          One in particular now mainly shoots large format 8×10” photography and uses a Hasselblad medium format film camera for “snaps”. Also doesn’t have an Instagram or other online presence for his photography. He said a quote that inspired him on this path was “That which takes time, time will respect.” Of course, his talent is also on a level few have ever risen so his work has fortunately garnered some attention, and thus, he can afford the tool, time, and ability to create photos this way.

          And, as you stated, the narcissistic aspect to our “art makers” doesn’t help. Sorta what I meant by the commodification of art in that their “art” is merely made to feed their “brand” (Warhol was both our greatest prophet and and early profiteer of this phenomenon). And audiences have taken that “customer is always right” narcissistic idea and applied it to all art to the point where artists are expected to be entertainers, not boundary pushers and thinkers. Audiences want bias confirmation and titillation.

          Did an ad campaign years ago (not what I consider art but an interesting case) featuring “real people” (non models, people with flaws and doing real jobs) and the company ran it for a year while also still running their usual “aspirational” fashion ads with models in fabulous locales being fabulous. After that year the numbers were stark: People didn’t want to see real people, they wanted idols to look up to and buy products from in the hopes of being seen as adorned in the light of their gods.

          That is the environment we make art in. I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that I make art very few will ever know of, that won’t pay many bills, and will probably disappear not long after I do, but, it’s made to be art, not a product.

          Of course, I also make videos for corporations ‘cause my personal piety don’t pay the rent. If AI takes that gig from me I don’t know what I’ll do. Yeehaw! :)

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > More like people who decried the spread of the automobile and the demise of horse & buggy.

        Turns out horse-sh*t in the streets was better than CO2 in the air. Who knew?

        Adding, this “you can’t stop progress” foofra is making my back teeth itch. This isn’t “progress.” This is simply a historical phenomenon, and history has no teleology.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Oh . . . I don’t know . . . . there will always be hand made art made by hand by humans for the classes. They might try to get the masses to settle for AA ( Artificial Artistry). But then members of the masses might go rogue and make their own amateur human art by hand just like Ghandhi’s Salt Marchers made salt. By hand.

        Reply
  10. ambrit

    There is a H—. We are living in it.
    It makes me want to adopt something like Mithraism or the Eleusinian Mysteries.
    If Logical Positivism ends up giving us Neo-liberalism, then, indeed, it doth partake of an Esoteric Doctrine.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Mithraism or the Eleusinian Mysteries

      One of my periodic thoughts is that the only antidote to a political economy is poisoned as ours is a religion. A new one, perhaps Goddess-based. The return of Ishtar!

      Reply
  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Trump docs

    If I’m understanding all this correctly, the Feds requested docs back and got a lot of them but not everything they wanted. Then at some point they sent people down to FL to check, and found more docs that they wanted back. If these were really classified info that could damage the US if released, and the Feds were already in Trump’s residence looking for them, why didn’t they just take them home with them then?!? What am I missing?

    Instead they wait, Trump doesn’t send them back, so they get a broad warrant, and perform a raid. If there were classified docs they had already identified as missing, why was the warrant so broad?

    This really is the stupidest timeline.

    Reply
  12. Copeland

    Hey Ed Miller, regarding my Plantidote pic on Sept 2. I have no magic squirrel deterrent, they just haven’t arrived yet in my newly built, edge-of-town neighborhood. They will most definitely be here before long as our newly planted trees mature. When they do arrive I may have to switch to squirrel resistant feeders.

    Reply
  13. Samuel Conner

    > Makes me wish there’s a Hell.

    I’ve come to the view that there is, but one doesn’t have to wait until after one’s mortality to experience it; it’s here and now and we’re making it for ourselves.

    Unfortunately, the hell I make for myself tends to create problems for people around me, who may not have concurred with my folly.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Rather ironic that the photo chosen by the tweeter to celebrate masklessness at the Met is of a child looking at a temple dedicated to the Egyptian god of the underworld.

      She should have used one of the kid in the armor room – that would have been a nice masked/maskless contrast!

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I can understand on one level her need to have the Met opened again, however flawed the reasoning behind it is. But what I cannot understand is why bolting on the idea of not wearing masks as well to this idea? One has nothing to do with the other and the only commonality I can see is this being her wanting to get back to the way things were in 2019 – no matter what the cost to other people.

        Reply
          1. OnceWereVirologist

            If it’s unacceptable to force someone to wear a mask, it’s unacceptable to force someone to wear pants. Delicious concept for a protest movement right there – “March for COVID prevention – masked up but tackle free”.

            Reply
        1. Basil Pesto

          I think the Met has been open for quite some time; it’s just that they only recently decided to remove the mask requirement. Tweeter apparently refused to visit the museum so long as that requirement was in place.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Maybe a movement of covid mask realists should plan, announce, and carry out a boycott against the Met until it restores the mask mandate.

            Then little miss No Mask Freedumm can go back home and stay there.

            Reply
  14. IM Doc

    With regard to the above linked article from the journal Vaccine about COVID vaccine side effects.

    This is the exact same article from a few months ago that was then in preprint and now in a peer-reviewed top of the line journal in that area.

    As I said then, and I will say again – this work is very likely going to be remembered for the ages. Each era, AIDS, opiates, Vioxx, you name it, have foundational papers that break the ice. This is likely going to be one of the papers for this crisis.

    Basically, they did the work because the CDC and other federal agencies, and Big Pharma, continue to this day to withhold any and all granular data about side effects. So these authors came up with absolutely ingenious ways to arrive at these numbers in other ways. As I said at the time, these are not people to be blown off. Three of them are world-class epidemiologists, one of them is the author of the current foundational textbook in epidemiology ( all my students and I use it), and the other is an editor of the BMJ. These are not people to be trifled with.

    And again, they did this because the data has not been forthcoming from the authorities or Pharma.

    It is a magical paper. Since the preprint was published I have had every student go over it. It is truly wonderful to see these young and bright people go over this in their head and watch the lightbulbs go on.

    Of course – when the preprint came out, we were informed by the medical establishment and the Medical Twitterati – that it was obviously useless and written by morons – it had not been peer-reviewed, and it would never see the light of day in a reputable journal. How dare these people just make up new ways of assessing the situation, why, how dare they? If I recall correctly, that was even stated in these comments. Oops. I cannot wait to see what they have to say now. Actually, I have been looking all week. Crickets. As has been the case all along, when things do not fit the narrative and appear to be gaining traction, they are memory-holed as soon as possible.

    All of this would be for naught if the CDC and Pharma would just release the data. I pray daily that our society will learn from these huge mistakes.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.” – Nicholas Klein

      Looks like they got the ignore & ridicule order mixed up but otherwise this seems to sum up so much of the response to any questioning of the official messaging.

      Reply
    2. Dean

      ” I cannot wait to see what they have to say now. Actually, I have been looking all week. Crickets.”
      Guess you missed this: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/peer-review-fail-vaccine-publishes-antivax-propaganda/
      The preprint was also criticized for “P-Hacking” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drSAsfuMkuw) and “Statistical Shenanigans” (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/statistical-shenanigans/)
      Jeffrey Morris commented:
      “Another glaring methodological flaw is comparing events per 10k (including multiple events per individual) with hospitalizations per 10k (counting each individual only once)
      Should compare at individual not event for this”

      Reply
    3. Ben Joseph

      I keep staring at the positivity ramp from 2 doses to 3, and the apparent <5 month recency protection and am still ambivalent about getting a third moderna shot.

      Wouldn't it be nice to have the Walgreens data separately for each vaccine? Pfizer would be very unhappy if the protection trended against them with the adverse effects trending towards them. But it would definitely help with decision to have data. Thanks CDC!

      Reply
    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > we were informed by the medical establishment and the Medical Twitterati – that it was obviously useless and written by morons – it had not been peer-reviewed, and it would never see the light of day in a reputable journal. How dare these people just make up new ways of assessing the situation, why, how dare they? If I recall correctly, that was even stated in these comments

      This article describes the “fact-checking” process. I wasn’t sure about it, maybe others can evaluate.

      Reply
    5. OnceWereVirologist

      I honestly don’t see what we’re supposed to get out of this study. It’s not so much bad, wrong or unpublishable as simply inconclusive.

      “Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest of 10.1 and 15.1 per 10,000 vaccinated over placebo baselines of 17.6 and 42.2 (95 % CI −0.4 to 20.6 and −3.6 to 33.8)”

      With such a wide confidence interval you’re basically saying that the placebo adverse event observation of 17.6 (per 10,000) and the Pfizer adverse event observation of 27.7 are statistically speaking identical numbers. What am I missing ?

      Reply
  15. Mikel

    “The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse” [Guardian].

    Like they won’t turn on each other.
    And you can have all the codes that only you know that you want. Sounds like some of them plan on having trained torturers as guards.
    Now they just pray for HAL 9000 to become sentient.
    (5,000 clown emjois)

    See post-ending of “Don’t Look Up” for the greatest of laughs.

    Reply
  16. semper loquitur

    I, for one, am heartily reassured that the climate problem will be entrusted to John Podesta’s capable hands. We will know for certain that the UFO disclosure effort will have a powerful advocate behind the scenes:

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/john-podesta-pulling-back_b_6717872

    With luck, he will get the Pentagon and Co. to release the files. Maybe the Adults in the Room will be like “Ok, we won’t be such a shock, let’s reveal ourselves.” and then hopefully something will get done about the climate.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Certain names pop up in politics every few years and it’s always surprising to see they’re still accepted in our halls of power and not banished to a cave in the wilderness. Podesta is one of those names and I would love to have gone the rest of my life without ever having heard that name announced as in charge of anything more than laundry duty in a prison cell block.

      Reply
  17. Delphi

    So, grand total of 29 Billion for Covid relief in the U.S. plus all natural disasters, meanwhile Ukraine gets an additional 11 billion on top of the 66 billion they already got???
    FJB!, the Ukrainians can pay U.S. income taxes, from now on I’m out of the system.

    Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      You are also paying the salary of every Ukrainian serviceman and every Ukrainian government employee including Zelensky. You would think that – with leverage like that – stopping the bombing of a nuclear power plant would be a piece of cake.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        What makes you think that that idea was thought up in the Ukraine? Or those two commando raids on that nuke plant too?

        Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    We in the Palinstinian Movement are of course disheartened by the news of our darling doyen being defeated, but this will only give resolve to fine tune the engine on her snow machine so she can try again in November, you betcha.

    Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      Remember all those “Palin is as dumb as a bag of rocks”? Then came Kamala….

      Proof that God has a sense of humor.

      Reply
      1. albrt

        Proof that God does not exist; or alternatively, that humans are not created in God’s image, or perhaps that God is malevolent. Perhaps the last one would be compatible with God having a very dark sense of humor.

        Reply
  19. Questa Nota

    Lambert, you couldn’t be considered for that Pedosta Post.
    All is not lost, as there is now a potential category for your Water Cooler.

    Call it The Guzzle.

    Like The Bezzle, only with mostly public money.

    Where government posts go to those best suited to allocate funds to the right purposes.
    Just a few years ago there was the prototype Clinton Global Foundation.
    Those trailblazers broke through ceilings, did the heavy lifting and really laid the groundwork, not necessarily in that order, and they did it in Haitian Creole, too.

    Comes now Pedosta, ready to disseminate, dissemble, distribute and dysfunction. When one is the big cheese, coining neologisms and, ahem, verbalizing, is expected.
    What not to expect? Transparency, accountability, decency.

    Reply
    1. Michael Ismoe

      The best part about having Podesta in the Administration is that you check up on what he did everyday. After he leaves work, break into his laptop. He was the genius who used “PASSWORD” as his password.

      Reply
  20. Jason Boxman

    VIRALEZE™ contains astodrimer sodium (also known as SPL7013), a compound that has been shown to physically trap cold/respiratory viruses.

    VIRALEZE™ Barrier Nasal Spray creates a moisturising and protective barrier containing astodrimer sodium on the inside surface of your nose that physically traps cold/respiratory viruses. Viruses are naturally removed in the nasal mucus.

    Astodrimer sodium is included in other products approved in >40 countries, which are available for sale in UK, Europe, Japan, South east Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

    (bold mine)

    You’ll notice it isn’t available, of course, in the United States in any product.

    I’m convinced that, because markets, in the United States we shall not have any of these innovations, and while the rest of the world truly does move on from COVID, safely, American citizens here will continue to get sick, disabled, or die from SARS-COV-2. And the only intervention on offer will continue to be mRNA vaccines!! for the win.

    Sounds plausible, does it not?

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      I’m convinced that, because markets, in the United States we shall not have any of these innovations, and while the rest of the world truly does move on from COVID, safely, American citizens here will continue to get sick, disabled, or die from SARS-COV-2. And the only intervention on offer will continue to be mRNA vaccines!! for the win.

      Sounds plausible, does it not?

      Well not really, because pretty much all of the rest of the world (ex China, which is under considerable pressure thanks to the rest of the world’s co-ordinated capitulation) is now largely in the shit because they followed the lead of the United States and the combination of dark money propaganda groups and bland neoliberal shills advocating the do-nothingism and minimisation driving her policy, and are now similarly engaged in lying to their people that being endlessly reinfected with SARS is no biggie, either vaccinated or unvaccinated as the case may be.

      If you think VIRAL-EZE, or Enovid (which I use), or Ivermectin or whatever are going to be – could ever be – sufficient for any given jurisdiction in the US or otherwise to safely move on from Covid, prepare to be disappointed. Much as I would dearly wish that to be the case, it has been said before: this virus demands considerably more respect than that.

      Moreover I would add that overselling market-based solutions to pretend we can use them to bring the pandemic adequately under control applies as much to VIRAL-EZE (ASX:SPL!), Enovid and Ivermectin (which may be generic, but does not grow on trees) as it does mRNA, albeit at a much smaller scale.

      Double moreover, consider Paxlovid, another Pfizer product, or ‘innovation’, if you prefer. Granted it was never touted at the same “road put of the pandemic” levels, but now that its crappiness has become rather apparent over the past few months, it’s being touted a whole lot less.

      Frankly I think intramuscular vaccines are going the same way, given that the update is 25ug wild type and 25ug BA.5, and the White House just announced annual boosters as their Covid-fighting plan which, even assuming strain-matched vaccines, would hardly be a fast enough update given that we’re on course for ~4 waves driven by emerging strains a year. These are not, it seems to me, the kind of things you do if you want to ensure decades of mRNA covid vaccine market dominance. It’s almost like they’re sabotaging vaccination, in fact.

      Hopefully intranasal vaccines aren’t sabotaged in the same way, but if they’re not strain-matched in trials it’s very possible they will be too (and they won’t be sufficient to see us out of the pandemic either, sadly).

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        I don’t mean to sound too down on intranasal vaccines btw, at this rate they’re the best we’re going to get for some time, and if it lets me safely return to some semblance of pre-2021 life, even for just a few months, I’ll be there. But they won’t be used to pursue containment, and so in the medium term and beyond the threat will remain, and remain quite serious. I also have my doubts that they’ll be as widely available and accessible as the first vaccines were.

        Reply
  21. Tom Pfotzer

    Lambert: That link to Justine Haupt’s rotary cell phone tilted my pinball machine, wham onto the ground it went.

    This woman – Justine – is so wildly creative, fused with deep technical competency, and beautiful and so deftly articulate.

    I think I have fallen in love.

    :)

    But she is way cool. And got those powerful counter-culture instincts, too.

    And the work is open-sourced. Hardware and software. The works.

    Don’t let anyone tell you that we individuals or small-crofters can’t field a world-class product, or can’t do anything productive if “you’re not in the office”.

    She doesn’t sell that phone; she sells the kit (the parts) and you have to put it together. It’s like a secret society of creative types, and to get in, you have to demonstrate competency.

    Told ya she’s cool.

    —- And … speaking of cool, Lambert, you’re another one. I’ll hit the donate button shortly, and as I’ve said before, if I was rich, I’d shower the NC folk with big-denomination bills.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’ll hit the donate button shortly, and as I’ve said before, if I was rich, I’d shower the NC folk with big-denomination bills.

      Thank you! We’re still waiting for that portrait of Madison (lyrics)….

      Adding, the J. Geils song is “Dead Presidents”. I was wondering why I was having such a hard time finding it on Google, until I realized the censorship keywords had kicked in….

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      She sells a kit because if she sold a finished phone, she’s have to get FCC approval.

      And there are some of us who have no, and I mean no, manual dexterity (I test at 2nd percentile, no typo) That is one reason I am allergic to the invocation of “creative”. It’s usually MBA hype, like “passion” or “innovation,” and when not, often refers to craft projects I hate because I can’t do them.

      Reply
      1. Tom Pfotzer

        OK, let’s pick out a different word, sub for “creative” that means something like:

        high spatial thinking powers (hold many parts in mind @ time), and artist has a big lexicon (vocabulary) of parts to be substituted / modeled into the design (like playing rubik’s cube) and the ability to get the design realized (made into a reality) by hook, crook, manual dexterity, or great negotiating skill (e.g. get help where you need it) or just enough will to bludgeon it into form.

        And for bonus points, beauty. Tactile, aesthetic, lilting beauty.

        What word can we use that says those sorts of things?

        BTW, I have great big fingers, age is starting to mess with my nerves, and many cuss words are spent getting fiddly things to do what I want. From here on out, for me, it’s a race against time.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          How about . . . Tetris MacGyver? ( Or maybe that will lead to thoughts of a better name).

          Or . . . Tetris Rubicube Wizard?

          Reply
  22. Jason Boxman

    So this is way beyond my pay grade, but comparing the SAEs from the mRNA vaccines from the paper (Serious adverse events of special interest following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in randomized trials in adults):

    The Pfizer trial exhibited a 36 % higher risk of serious adverse events in vaccinated participants in comparison to placebo recipients: 67.5 per 10,000 versus 49.5 per 10,000; risk difference 18.0 per 10,000 vaccinated participants (95 % compatibility1 interval 1.2 to 34.9); risk ratio 1.36 (95 % CI 1.02 to 1.83). The Moderna trial exhibited a 6 % higher risk of SAEs in vaccinated individuals compared to those receiving placebo: 136 per 10,000 versus 129 per 10,000; risk difference 7.1 per 10,000 (95 % CI –23.2 to 37.4); risk ratio 1.06 (95 % CI 0.84 to 1.33). Combined, there was a 16 % higher risk of SAEs in mRNA vaccine recipients than placebo recipients: 98 per 10,000 versus 85 per 10,000; risk difference 13.2 (95 % CI −3.2 to 29.6); risk ratio 1.16 (95 % CI 0.97 to 1.39).

    (bold mine)

    With SAEs for MMR vaccine (Serious adverse events after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination during a fourteen-year prospective follow-up):

    Immunization of 1.8 million individuals and consumption of almost 3 million vaccine doses by the end of 1996 gave rise to 173 potentially serious reactions claimed to have been caused by MMR vaccination. In all, 77 neurologic, 73 allergic and 22 miscellaneous reactions and 1 death were reported, febrile seizure being the most common event. However, 45% of these events proved to be probably caused or contributed by some other factor, giving an incidence of serious adverse events with possible or indeterminate causal relation with MMR vaccination of 5.3 per 100,000 vaccinees or 3.2 per 100,000 vaccine doses.

    (bold mine)

    So, notice the huge difference in the denominator here. An order of magnitude. That’s certainly a cause for a concern, I think, is it not?

    It’s possible I’m not interpreting this correctly, of course, and if that’s the case I apologize.

    Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    ‘the labels in this museum are really something’

    This reminds me of something that the Critical Drinker was saying in a recent video. He was saying in films you understand a character by watching what they do in that film. So for example, in “Three days of the Condor” you first saw the assassin concentrating on a task while his telephone rang incessantly in the background and only when he finished did he pick up the phone. That told you stacks about what sort of person he was. But in modern films, the Drinker says that they will have another character in dialogue tell you what you should think of a main character. By praising a character they are telling the audience what they should be thinking of the main character and it is similar with those museum labels. They are telling there patrons how they should be viewing those exhibits instead of letting them draw their own conclusion. But hey, PMCs have gotta PMC.

    Reply
  24. elissa3

    I have seen that clip of Dr. Strangelove perhaps 50X; the whole movie at least two dozen times. I still laugh. The pure comic genius of Peter Sellers has few equals. Thank you.

    Also, a check is in the mail.

    Reply
  25. Michael McK

    Most of that Guardian prepper consultation account was in this very comments section more than a year ago.
    It was prefaced by the info that the writer (a NC commenter) was an adjunct professor and was offered a huge amount of money (to an adjunct prof.) to address a conference. It turned out there were only a few attendees and the snipit you have continues.
    .
    Perhaps the commenter was just relating the same story ans not a participant but it was a while ago.
    As usual NC is way ahead of the curve.
    Silly me. I should have read all the comments. It was quoted at length in links in 2018, it was not a comment.

    Reply
  26. Harold

    I love the beautiful Plantidote of native hibiscus flowering in their natural settings.

    My daughter and I met for lunch and a walk this last Saturday. As a child she didn’t share my plant enthusiasm, the result probably of being dragged to see so many nurseries and botanic gardens everywhere we went. But in college she did take a course in prairie wildflowers, and now she tells me she has a book called a Botany in a Day that she likes very much, and that she was learning about plant families.

    We started talking about the mallow family and how large and beautiful it was, And I showed her a shot I had taken the day before of Althaea officinalis, the apothecary workshop mallow, a European plant, the roots of which are (or were) used tin making the confection marshmallow, which had just come into bloom in my garden. It has a pretty but unobtrusive whitish flower with a bluish central pistil. I wish more people grew it in their herb gardens. They say it is good for tea.

    Speaking of marshmallows, one year when the kids were younger, our family decided to make homemade Peeps for Easter baskets. It was harder than it looks. I was also somewhat disappointed to learn that modern commercial marshmallows contain only sugar and maybe gelatin — plant material other than cane sugar

    Anyway, the lovely flowers in the Plantidote are Hibiscus moscheutos, which is white further south and pink in its northern form and usually has a red eye. https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=299953&isprofile=0&#:~:text=The%20specific%20epithet%20moscheutos%20means,preferred%20habitat%20of%20this%20plant.

    Reply
  27. Foy

    Lambert: ‘That said, I’m all for low-cost, high-reward approaches. What have we got to lose? Can any Austrialian readers chime in?’

    I just looked at the website, it says the product is not available in Australia. So we have a product developed by an Australian listed company in Australia, available over the counter in UK and available in 30 countries, cheap simple potential solution to minimise/reduce Covid spread risk, but not available here. Sounds about right.

    Reply
      1. Carla

        I’ve been using Enovid, a nitric oxide nasal spray, as a Covid preventative, for about six months. So far, to my knowledge, I have not had Covid — certainly all my tests, both PCR and rapid, have been negative. Enovid, also called SaNOtize, was developed by a Canadian company and commercialized in Israel. It is available by mail order, without prescription from buyenov.com and israelpharm.com. Israelpharm has a lower price, but in my experience, buyenov ships more quickly. However recently, both outlets were completely out of product and there was about a four-week delay before any was shipped. Enovid is also used as a Covid treatment, as described here:
        https://buyenov.com/blogs/news/phase-3-clinical-trial-confirms-sanotize-s-treatment-is-99-effective-against-covid-19

        Reply
  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    I read the super-rich digital-billionaire preppers’ article. Toward the end of it the author writes about a J. C. Cole who seems more rational and humane than the silicon billionaires. His “Heritage Farm” concept seems worth keeping some track of. I clicked the link about it. It claims he hopes to work it out enough to make it predictable and repeatable and then give away information about how to do it for free.

    His Heritage Farm site also has some clickable links, including a link to a multi-page list of articles Mr. Cole and sometimes guest authors have written. They run a gamut from . . . ” J C. COLE: VANDANA SHIVA ON THE TAKING DOWN OF BILL GATES’ EMPIRES
    Vandana Shiva on the Taking Down of Bill Gates’ Empires Above is an excellent interview with a Dr of Quantum Physics. She spells out clearly the 6th extinction and how it is being done. I suggest you take a listen. The solution, Regeneration International. Local control of healthy food production and seed saving, seed freedom, …” . . . to . . . ” TOM LUONGO: EPSTEIN PEAK SWAMP? ZIONIST STRIKE 44 UPDATE 50 EPSTEIN NOT DEAD?
    Shadow banned by the ADL everywhere — share directly and repost at will. Updates at end. Overview: Nine Veils of Evil Free Online : Pedophilia & Empire: Satan, Sodomy, & The Deep State ” and many shades of gray in between these two poles.

    Meanwhile, I am not sure we have to wait for Mr. Cole to perfect and roll out the “Heritage Farm” concept. Many thousands of young and youngish people in the near-country-zone surrounding every major town and city with a potential customer base are trying to work out their own ways of creating sustainable farming in their areas. Those people lucky enough to have money to spend for food do not need to wait for Mr. Cole to bring forth the refined version of “Heritage Farm” to have a hope of food sustainability and security within short-distance reach. They can spend money on such food from new small-to-tiny farmers around towns and cities who are already learning to do this as they go, thereby keeping these new small-to-tiny farmers in business long enough to keep learning and refining their skills and methods.
    And of course thousands ( and then millions) of people living in real houses with real yards around them could begin learning and growing “heritage gardens” of different sorts.

    Reply

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