By Lambert Strether of Corrente
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Bird Song of the Day
California Thrasher, Solano, California, United States.
“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
“Elizabeth Warren Proposes Bill To Ban ‘Right-To-Work’ Laws” [HuffPo]. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) plans to reintroduce a bill on Thursday that would ban anti-union “right-to-work” laws that are now on the books in a majority of states. Such laws forbid employers and unions from entering into agreements stipulating that every worker covered by the contract pay fees to the union. In doing so, they allow workers to opt out of paying any dues while still enjoying the benefits of a union contract and representation.” • No doubt Biden will support it.
“Sanders vows to oppose controversial Schumer-Manchin side deal” [The Hill]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday blasted the side deal that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) struck earlier this summer to pass a controversial proposal to make it easier to develop fossil fuel-based energy projects. Schumer told reporters Wednesday that he plans to attach Manchin’s permitting reform bill to the stopgap spending measure that needs to pass by Sept. 30 to prevent a government shutdown. Sanders slammed the agreement as ‘a huge giveaway to the fossil fuel industry’ and angrily warned that it would undermine President Biden’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by the year 2030.” • Several days late, several dollars short.
My copy of Janine Wedel’s Shadow EliteM (2009) came today. Another damn book to read:
Here's the 27th member of the Biden administration to be affiliated with WestExec Advisors.
Linda Lourie served in the White House Office of Science and Tech Policy until last month.
Now, WestExec is "already leveraging Linda's robust knowledge-base to help our clients…" pic.twitter.com/hadEdPovTw
— Jonathan Guyer (@mideastXmidwest) September 6, 2022
“Biden’s MAGA Obsession Won’t Help Democrats” [Black Agenda Report]. “What is a failed president to do? His 2022 midterm stump speech had the odd title , “The Continued Battle for the Soul of a Nation.” No one voted for Biden to be the nation’s religious leader, why the reference to the nation’s soul? That use of language is a sure sign that nonsense is being peddled and Biden didn’t disappoint. His failures are the reason he keeps running against Donald Trump instead of in defense of himself. Because he and the democrats don’t have much in the way of appeals to voters he just shouts Trump’s signature acronym MAGA, Make America Great Again, over and over again. He said MAGA 13 times in his speech. Never before has a losing president or his supporters been elevated to such a level of attention. Of course Trump differs from most former presidents by claiming that he didn’t really lose and encouraging his supporters to riot inside the Capitol two weeks before his successor’s inauguration. He still says he didn’t lose and is also back in the news after refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents to the National Archives where they belong. But Trump’s personal foolishness should be a reason for him to be ignored instead of getting more attention.”
“‘A Dangerous Escalation’: Fifty-Six Percent of Voters Believe President Biden Sought to ‘Incite Conflict'” [Jonathan Turley]. “Now, a Trafalgar poll shows that a majority of Americans believe that Biden was tried to ‘incite conflict’ with his speech. The poll asked respondents, ‘What is your opinion of President Biden’s recent primetime address to the nation in which he accused of representing ‘an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic’?’ Fifty-six percent of the voters said that the speech ‘represents a dangerous escalation in rhetoric and is designed to incite conflict amounts Americans.'” • That’s not what Biden said, and Turley should put down his hack pom poms and take a seat. Biden, as I show here. Biden is attempting to split his political opponents, and in particular is seeking to give Catholic Republicans in Pennsylvania suburbs a permission structure that will allow them to vote for him.
“The GOP Respose to Biden’s Democracy Speech Proves His Point” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. “Biden’s main argument was simple: A wing of the Republican Party aligned with Trump refuses to renounce violence, respect the integrity of elections, or accept the rule of law. Biden argued that this faction composes a minority of the party, but has been able to bully the party’s officials into compliance…. [the Republican Party] treated the entire thing, including its critique of Trumpism, as an attack on them.” • Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Note that Obama (“cling to guns and religion”) and Clinton (“deplorables”) were not nearly so careful as Biden, I think because they had different tactical goals. Obama and Clinton wanted to split the electorate. Biden wants to split the Republican Party. As he says explicitly in the speech. (The wisdom of that idea can be questioned, but it’s what he wants to do.)
* * *
GA: “Georgia’s Senate Race Is Much Closer Than The Governor Election. Will That Hold Until November?” [FiveThirtyEight]. “After a history-making 2020 and 2021, Georgia is once again on our minds with two high-profile statewide races on the ballot this November: the U.S. Senate race, a highly competitive contest between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, as well as the gubernatorial contest, a high-octane rematch between Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams. But interestingly, these races have pretty different outlooks in FiveThirtyEight’s 2022 midterm forecast. The Senate race is currently rated as a toss-up, while in the governor’s race Kemp is a clear favorite to win.” • Say what you will about Herschel Walker, at least he doesn’t owe me six hundred bucks.
Woa, an 18-year old high school student, Shiva Rajbhandari, won a school board election in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday.
He ousted an incumbent school member who had received an endorsement from a far-right group, which Rajbhandari went after.
Some context: https://t.co/FpAu3n1Srs
— Taniel (@Taniel) September 8, 2022
— Righteous⚡️Crusader (@Craftmastah) September 8, 2022
PA: Fetterman’s social media team can write their own ticket for 2024 (1):
Three phrases you’ll never see in a headline about me:
“Embroiled in an immigration fraud scheme” pic.twitter.com/ck6sgrDoCF
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) September 7, 2022
PA: Fetterman’s social media team can write their own ticket for 2024 (2):
Dr. Oz on the 2020 election results: "I would not have objected to it"
A few hours later on Fox News: "There's lots more information we have to gather."
Doctor Oz wants to be all things to all people, but we can all see what he really is: a fraud. pic.twitter.com/rj48tuypL0
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) September 8, 2022
PA: “Fetterman to POLITICO: I will debate Oz” [Politico]. ” John Fetterman said he is committing to attending one debate with his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, in the closely watched battle for the Senate in Pennsylvania, but his campaign is still discussing accommodations for his auditory processing problems…. Fetterman declined to specify which debate he will attend or provide an exact date for it, though he said it will ‘be sometime in the middle to end of October’ on a ‘major television station’ in the state. He also said that the campaign is looking at the possibility of using a closed captioning monitor for the event so that he does not miss any words as he continues to recover from his stroke.” • Fetterman should demand the Pennsylvania branch of the League of Women Voters sponsor the debates, and not the networks (the real story being how the media muscles in as an actor).
PA: “John Fetterman has lingering speech issues after his stroke. What’s the impact on his Senate run?” [Inquirer]. “As Fetterman has returned to the trail, giving candid speeches without notes, he’s been upfront about the lingering speech impacts of his May stroke, insisting his physical and mental health are good, while his opponent, Mehmet Oz, challenges his ability to serve. ‘My health now is robust. I’m able to live a normal life,’ Fetterman said in his first nationally televised interview on MSNBC. ‘Driving, going to the grocery store … it’s just that every now and then, I’m going to miss a word or mush two words together.’ Fetterman and his Senate campaign have said it’s called auditory processing, an effect of his May 13 stroke, along with some word retrieval issues, which they expect to continue to improve. In brief speeches he’s given on the trail, it’s noticeable but not an overwhelming distraction. His crowds, typically supporters, enthusiastically respond to him, and plenty of people have speech problems that don’t indicate cognitive impairment.” • Well, Biden mushes words together, too. But I’m not sure that’s a recommendation.
TX: “Abbott holds 7-point lead over O’Rourke in new poll” [The Hill]. “The University of Houston-Texas Southern University survey found that 49 percent of likely voters supported Abbott, while 42 percent supported O’Rourke. The results of Wednesday’s survey track with other recent polls…. After the deadly shooting at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school brought the gun control debate back to the forefront, O’Rourke appeared to close the gap between himself and Abbott, leading to a sense of cautious optimism among the state’s Democrats. However, O’Rourke has been unable to gain further ground on Abbott in polls.””
“AOC’s Fight for the Future” [GQ]. “With the 2024 presidential election fast approaching and the question of whether or not President Joe Biden will run again looming, progressives are weighing the future of their movement. Sanders has signaled he’d support Biden for reelection but hasn’t ruled out another run in the event of an open race. Still, operatives across the movement have suggested that the 81-year-old Sanders is ready to hand off the reins. The top adviser to another leading progressive official told me that Ocasio-Cortez seems ‘destined to inherit the leadership of the movement.'” What movement? More:” Whatever Ocasio-Cortez decides to do, another top progressive operative added, will be ‘consequential for every single person who cares about the future of the country.’ All of the progressive political operatives that I spoke with said they were heartened by the number of leaders their movement has produced in recent years. Yet they all agree, when granted the ability to speak freely, that there is something special about the congresswoman.” • Well, AOC can organize a puff-piece, at least. So there’s that. Personally, I’ve never been an AOC-hater. I do agree that there is, or was, something “special” about her, which is why my disappointment is so great.
“‘Everyone wants me to run in 2024’: Trump” [Agence France Presse]. “Donald Trump has dropped another hint at a White House campaign in 2024, with the former US president telling Indian television that a run for office would ‘make a lot of people very happy.’ ‘Everyone wants me to run. I am leading in the polls,’ Trump said in an excerpt of an interview with NDTV to be broadcast in full later on Thursday. ‘In every poll, in Republican polls and in Democrat polls, and I will make a decision in the very near future, I suspect. And I think that a lot of people are going to be very happy,’ he added.” • Well, Ron DeSantis doesn’t want Trump to run. But he’s gonna have to make himself a bigger Big Man than Donald Trump. Not an easy task.
Democrats en Déshabillé
I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.
Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.
* * *
“The Democratic Party Shouldn’t Be a Gerontocracy” [The Nation]. “ianne Feinstein is 89. Steny Hoyer is 83, Nancy Pelosi and Pat Leahy are 82, and Bernie Sanders is 80. Ben Cardin is 78, Richard Blumenthal is 76, Jeanne Shaheen is 75, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden are 73; Debbie Stabenow is 72 and Chuck Schumer is 71…. In total, 46 percent of Senate Democrats and 40 percent of Democrats in the House are 65 or over…. Is it ageist to point out what the problems are? I’m a year older than Schumer—in fact, we were in college together, although I didn’t know him—so I can say freely: No, it is not. For one thing, not too long from now, many of these fine people will be incapacitated or dead. Who will take charge then, if younger people have not been brought in and prepared?”
My copy of Janine Wedel’s Shadow EliteM (2009) came today. Another damn book to read:
“Steve Bannon, former Trump adviser, charged with money laundering in border wall scheme” [Reuters]. “Steve Bannon, the longtime ally and onetime top strategist to former U.S. President Donald Trump, has been indicted on money laundering and conspiracy for allegedly deceiving donors to an effort to help Trump build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Bannon, 68, was charged in an indictment made public on Thursday with two counts of money laundering, three counts of conspiracy and one count of scheming to defraud. The case arose from what prosecutors have described as a private $25 million fundraising drive, known as “We Build the Wall,” for the former Republican president’s signature wall. According to the indictment, Bannon promised donors that all their money would go toward the wall, but concealed his role in diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars to the drive’s chief executive, who had promised to take no salary. The chief executive has been identified in court papers as Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran who pleaded guilty in April to federal wire fraud conspiracy and tax charges, and is awaiting sentencing.” • Everybody’s gotta eat….
“Michigan GOP leaders encourage rule breaking at poll worker training session” [CNN]. “The evening before Michigan’s state primary, Wayne County GOP leaders held a Zoom training session for poll workers and partisan observers — warning them about “bad stuff happening” during the election and encouraging them to ignore local election rules barring cell phones and pens from polling places and vote-counting centers. ‘None of the constraints that they’re putting on this are legal,’ former state senator Patrick Colbeck told trainees on the August 1 call. As far as cell phones, ‘I would say maybe just hide it or something, and maybe hide a small pad and a small pen or something like that because you need to take accurate notes’ Cheryl Costantino, the GOP county chairwoman and host of the call, told participants. Some participants raised concerns about being tossed out if they broke the rules. ‘That’s why you got to do it secretly,’ Costantino replied.” … During the Wayne County training call, obtained by CNN, the presumption that Democrats cheat [*** cough *** Iowa 2020 ***cough***] — thus justifying Republican rule-breaking — permeated the discussion. It offers a snapshot of one of the ways Trump-backing, MAGA-minded conspiracy theorists are intervening in the election process across the country, sometimes encouraging poll workers or volunteer observers to violate election rules in hopes of finding evidence that Democrats might be doing the same.” •
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Michael Flynn: From government insider to holy warrior” [Associated Press]. “Flynn, 63, has used public appearances to energize voters, along with political endorsements to build alliances and a network of nonprofit groups — one of which has projected spending $50 million — to advance the movement, an investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” has found. He has drawn together election deniers, mask and vaccine opponents, insurrectionists, Proud Boys, and elected officials and leaders in state and local Republican parties. Along the way, the AP and “Frontline” documented, Flynn and his companies have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for his efforts.” And: “He says, over and over, that some of his fellow Americans are ‘evil.’ ‘They dress like us and they talk like us, but they don’t think and act like us,’ he told a podcaster recently. ‘And they definitely do not want what it is that we want.” • Dark Flynn. (I loathe the politics of “Christian” Nationalism (both parts of the phrase, equally). But politics is what it is. Go out there and beat it at the polls.
“Racism is a big deal” [Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring]. “Antiracism has become fashionable in certain circles.” See Wesley Yang on the “successor ideology.” Circles like HR departments everywhere, for starters. So Matty’s lead is a bit limp. Interesting mostly because it cites to Liam Kofi Bright’s paper, White Psychodrama, which concludes: “I have offered as a more attractive character archetype the Non-Aligned person. They seek to eliminate the mis-match between ideological aspiration and material reality. This they do by rendering material circumstances more akin to what one might expect given a racially egalitarian ideology. That is to say, rather than solve the DuBoisian social problem by trying to better manage its fall out, they wish to simply eliminate the circumstances that gave rise to it. Since they have to operate amidst the present society with all its confusions and distractions, I argued that the Non-Aligned person needs to develop a habit of considering issues with Stoical dispassion, while maintaining ironic detachment from the concerns of the other character archetypes. In this way they can focus on achieving their goals, rather than get distracted by the pervasive and highly affectively charged white psychodramas that constitute the mainstay of Repenters and Repressers battling it out in the culture war.”
It never ends. pic.twitter.com/36IFYNWovR
— Frank McCormick | Chalkboard Heresy (@CBHeresy) September 8, 2022
More on Hochul’s mask-sabotaging signs (see Links this morning):
We want to see the whole series Governor Hochul! pic.twitter.com/vZQbJVhGb9
— rafael shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) September 7, 2022
The analogy is exact. The only difference is that you can see the p*ss, but you can’t see the virus. This one is good, too:
Send us more, Hochul. pic.twitter.com/dH0x8Vynij
— rafael shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) September 8, 2022
Signing the Great Barrington Declaration:
The pre-filled champagne flutes are a very nice touch.
“The thin line between lobbying and corruption: health advocacy” [BMJ]. “What image comes to mind when you see the word corruption? I was born and raised in Nigeria and I associate corruption with Ghana must go bags, agbada, bullion vans, and animals swallowing money before vanishing. Lobbying never comes to mind. Lobbying conjures images of placards, campaigns for social issues and suited professionals in the corridor of legislative buildings chanting for justice. Quite limited when compared to reality. The World Bank defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. Nepotism, bribery, embezzlement, extortion and fraud are all forms of corruption. Conversely, lobbying is a tool adopted by stakeholders to influence government policies or decisions regarding a cause or outcome. Award of contracts is one of the likely outcomes…. Clearly, lobbyists engaged in health advocacy have vested interests that are not always in the interest of public health. Often, these interests overshadow public health interests because of the intensity of lobbying activities and robust funding sources unmatched by stakeholders’ lobbying for public health interests…. Lobbying to influence decision making on health deserves extra attention because public health concerns are a matter of life and death….”
“Note on Covid” [Eschaton]. “I was lucky, my covid experience was fine….. One of the most bizarre developments in The Discourse was the anti-mask wearing bros. You know, the Nates and the Joshes and the Davids. I don’t mean mask policy, I mean just the general derision heaped on mask wearers who are just minding their own damn business. This started the spring after the vaccines came out and never stopped, despite waves of covid since. And, you know, sticking a mask on my gob when I remember is a pretty small price to pay to reduce my chances of getting covid a bit. I know it makes you super UNCOOL to have some concern for others, but the contempt for store workers involved with not just being against mask policies, or against wearing one yourself, but spending months getting enraged at the practice it all is quite amazing! Christ, what assholes.” • Yep.
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 for the United States:
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.
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 ~74,000. Today, it’s ~68,700 and 68,700 * 6 = a Biden line at 412,200. (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.
Regional case count for four weeks:
Lambert here: If the Florida data weren’t so screwy, the national case count would be level or up.
Doing pretty well!
SITE DOWN Wastewater data (CDC), September 1:
From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 8:
-2.6%. The continuing downward trend inside the red circle is actually encouraging.
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.
This is actually still improving. More yellow in the Plains states and the Mountain states.
NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), September 6:
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), September 6:
First time in a long time I’ve seen only green. I do wonder if there’s a Labor Day effect, though; not just on the data side, but people thinking “I’m not gonna miss the family barbecue for a little ol’ cough.” So let’s see if this persists.
NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays.
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 27:
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.
Death rate (Our World in Data):
Lambert here: We are seeing a drop in the death count. That suggests to me that a drop in the case count is real. (I don’t say “the” case count, because the cases we count are a fraction of the real number. It is interesting, though, that the deaths per 100,000 curve — with its curious recent flattening — has more or less the same shape as the case curve, suggesting that a “Biden Curve” would have more or less the same shape as the case count curve, as opposed to the straight line I am drawing for the current level.)
Total: 1,074,171 –
1,073,295 = 876 (876 * 365 = 319,740, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, thought they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line.
It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.
Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 6,000 to 222,000 in the week that ended September 3rd from a downwardly revised 228,000 in the previous period and well below market expectations of 240,000. The figure marks the lowest amount of weekly jobless claims since the final week of May, highlighting a tight labor market and giving the Fed more space for aggressive interest rate hikes.” • “Giving the Fed more space.” What a euphemism!
JUST IN – German automotive supplier Dr. Schneider is insolvent. pic.twitter.com/CSVjyGAWMr
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 7, 2022
So much for the mittelstand?
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 Fear (previous close: 45 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 8 at 1:28 PM EDT.
This is the many-worlds hypothesis, I think:
If the number 1.2345e+983487 existed before I just now typed it, then this image of Cthulu emerging from the sea existed before I ever gave Stable Diffusion the seed + prompt combo that generated it. Right? (Change my mind!) pic.twitter.com/o7p8rRR1xX
— jonstokes.(eth|com) (@jonst0kes) September 7, 2022
IMNSHO, all the AI-generated so-called art (“scart”?) has this dorm room poster quality to it….. Whether it pre-exists on some other timeline or not. (I would imagine that AI scart*, if it takes off like, say, Instagram, will take a lot power. On the order of Bitcoin? That I don’t know. In any case, it’s hardly Jackpot-ready.) NOTE * I don’t mean to imply “scat.” Well, maybe I do.
“Love might be a second-order phase transition” [arXiv]. “one of the leading hypotheses now is that the brain is operating close to the critical point of a second-order phase transition [7– 11], which explains several groups of its properties: the presence of power-law scalings for many of its characteristics ; the links between the corresponding scaling exponents, including those describing behavior ; the emergence of large-scale dynamical correlations [13, 14] between neurons (pattern formation) and the sensitivity to the state of individual neurons; the divergence of the susceptibility and the multitude of self-adapting reactions. The operation at the critical point allows the brain (and other biological systems) to achieve maximal efficiency, required for survival . It is ensured by the proper balance of excitation and inhibition [16, 17… Ongoing studies are devoted to the type of the phase transition involved [21–23]. It is understood that the balance between excitation and inhibition should be one of the parameters allowing to cross the transition point. An artificially-induced transition to the subcritical regime and a return to criticality have already been observed in rats , but no evidence of such transitions occurring naturally are known for human beings so far. In this work, we suggest that love might be an example of a second-order phase transition occurring in the brain. We show that this hypothesis explains a lot of well-known properties of love. Analyzing several most famous literature examples and a private diary, we show that the intensity of feelings exhibits a universal scaling behavior, distinguishing two cases: love at first sight and love developing from liking or friendship (friends first), both being studied in psychology [25–27].” • Oh.
News of the Wired
The next time WEF suggests you eat bugs:
— Mookie (@MookieB02198460) September 7, 2022
“Why English gardens don’t work for SoCal” [Los Angeles Times]. “Some people talk about Southern California as desert living, but I’ve learned that, actually, most SoCal residents live in one of the world’s five Mediterranean climates, marked by long, hot, dry summers and wet, cool winters, and I have come to love the diversity and tenacity of the plants that have evolved to grow in these conditions. They adapted to long periods of searing heat by pushing their roots deep into the soil to find water far below. Some even go brown and dormant during the hottest periods to wait for rain…. I am most fond, however, of the plants that grow natively in Southern California. Most are deliciously fragrant with just the slightest touch, and like the coastal live oaks and sycamores that dot our dry hillsides, these flowers, shrubs and trees can provide shade, colorful blooms and, most importantly, food and shelter for our threatened birds, butterflies and wildlife.”
“Of Wandering Angels and Lost Landmarks” [Emergence]. This is the premise: “We’ve come a long way to visit a tree, meet a wandering angel, and find out if the landmarks have any direction left to give…. I have spent years gazing longingly at three stereographic photos, taken in 1873, of a tree called the Thousand Mile Tree, which grows not far from where we park. We walk toward it, downstream, through waist-high clumps of sere bunchgrass and silver-green sage, shoulder-to-shoulder with the galvanized guardrail that separates us from the throaty eighteen-wheelers steaming down the four-lane interstate—Savage, Legend, Amazon—trying not to slide down the steep slope on our right that slips into the Weber, which is now whispering at its November low-flow, green and midnight…. It feels odd to be here, in a landscape that I’ve seen hundreds of times before, but only in a gold-toned albumen photograph that predates my birth by more than a hundred years, as if I’ve fallen into someone else’s memory. ” • Long-form! Well worth a read.
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 RM:
RM writes: “And mean greenies?”