By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Readers, at your request, I have blown away all the “?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”s in the HTML code for links in Twitter embeds. Hopefully that will provide a more pleasing experience on clicking through. Do let me know. –lambert
Bird Song of the Day
Slate-colored Solitaire, Chiapas, Mexico. I searched for “prettiest bird song,” and the Slate-colored Solitaire is what I got.
“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
“The logic of the insult and the logic of scientific classification represent the two extreme poles of what a classification may be in the social world.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
“Biden administration scales back student debt relief for millions amid legal concerns” [Politico]. “The Biden administration is scaling back its debt relief program for millions of Americans over concerns about legal challenges from the student loan industry as well as a new lawsuit from Republican-led states. In a reversal, the Education Department said on Thursday it would no longer allow borrowers who have federal student loans that are owned by private entities to qualify for the relief program. The administration had previously said those borrowers would have a path to receive up to $10,000 or $20,000 of loan forgiveness. The policy change comes as the Biden administration this week faces its first major legal challenges to the loan forgiveness program, which Republicans have railed against as an illegal use of executive power that is too costly for taxpayers. On Thursday, a group of six GOP attorneys general sued to block loan forgiveness. The states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina asked a federal judge to strike down the debt cancellation program, arguing that it’s illegal and unconstitutional.”
“Biden Picked the Worst Possible Moment to Declare the Pandemic ‘Over'” [The New Republic]. “Yes, we’re in a different place than we were in March 2020. Some parts are better: There are no refrigerator trucks stationed outside hospitals right now, we have incredibly safe and effective vaccines, we have learned how well high-quality masks and ventilation help prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses. At a moral level, however, some parts are worse: We now know exactly what works to stop the spread, yet we’re not doing it. We know how to save lives, but hundreds of people continue dying every day. ‘We have the tools, and now we’re setting up the entire system so that we cannot use those tools,’ said Esther Choo, professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. ‘We just created this vacuum of information so that we can’t even pivot intelligently as the next surge comes.’ What’s actually ‘over is the funding and sense of urgency for addressing the pandemic…. . One runs out of ways to describe such an intense wave of loss. That’s almost 500 jumbo jets crashing so far this year—almost two every day. It’s more than the entire population of Little Rock, Arkansas, or Salt Lake City, Utah, or Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is nearing half the population of Wyoming. And the year isn’t over yet….. We seem, instead, to have decided that this is an acceptable rate of loss and disruption; this is our new normal. As soon as we leave the acute emergency phase, we believe the crisis has passed. But that means it’s only going to go on longer—and winter is coming.” • “Long Covid” means don’t short it, I suppose…
* * *
“Column: Here’s why the House is likely to flip while the Senate remains up in the air” [Los Angeles Times]. “Republicans need only five seats to take back the House. The GOP is poised to pick up four seats just through the partisan drawing of congressional districts that followed the last census. So they’re almost there. Heck, Republicans could gain four seats in Florida alone, where Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the handiwork of the GOP-run Legislature to push through a political map that’s even more egregiously slanted in the party’s favor. Of course, Republicans are also defending a number of seats, including several in California. But it would take something close to a miracle for Democrats to hang onto the House.” And: “For a time, it seemed Republicans would pick up three or more Senate seats, easily regaining the majority they lost in January 2021. But today the fight for control seems like a toss-up…. Control of the Senate will most likely be decided by four states: Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden carried each of those, but not by much. In Nevada and Georgia, respectively, incumbents Catherine Cortez Masto and Raphael Warnock are defending Democratic-held seats, while Republican Ron Johnson is seeking his third term in Wisconsin. The Senate race in Pennsylvania is for an open seat held by retiring Republican Patrick J. Toomey. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are looking better for the GOP than they had been, as Republicans increasingly lean into the crime issue. So it could come down to Nevada and Georgia.”
* * *
“Biden’s delicate midterm dance” [Politico]. “The president has eased into a familiar cadence: He’s raising cash for Democrats and echoing the big-picture themes the party wants emphasized; he’s doing just enough to stay visible, but not so much that he becomes a heavier anchor. Biden is aware — and increasingly comfortable — with the reality that he isn’t wanted everywhere. White House officials are supplementing his campaign travel with events closer to home they believe still allow him to respond to Republicans and capitalize on the bully pulpit. But they’re not in the business of taking too many chances. Biden himself has, to this point, been comfortable with the lighter public footprint, telling advisers that what matters is holding onto the Senate and that, if he would do more harm than help in certain races, he’d stay away. That’s an evolution from earlier this year, when the president hit a low-water mark, and he complained to aides that he was not in demand on the campaign trail, pointing to his successful efforts as a draw and even a closer in 2018, particularly in tight contests. Biden received a pep talk from former President Bill Clinton in May in which the former president urged the current officeholder to do more selling of what his team had done.” • “Delicate dance” is one of those Beltway phrases I’ve never quite gotten a handle on.
GA: “Herschel Walker’s campaign in turmoil as adult son accuses him of violence, lying” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “Herschel Walker’s campaign was in turmoil Monday after his adult son accused him of threatening to kill him and his mother and also lying about past behavior to cast himself as a ‘family man.’ The astonishing Twitter tirade from Christian Walker came just two hours after a news outlet repo rted that his father, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Georgia, paid his then-girlfriend in 2009 to have an abortion. Walker, who staunchly opposes abortion, condemned the report by The Daily Beast as a “flat-out lie” and pledged to sue the publication. At about the same time as the former football star appeared on FOX News to deny the allegations, Christian Walker unleashed a series of tweets accusing his father of ‘making a mockery’ of the family. ‘You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence,’ wrote Christian Walker, who hasn’t endorsed his father’s campaign or appeared publicly at his events. In another exchange, Christian Walker tweeted that ‘every family member of Herschel Walker asked him not to run for office because we all knew (some of) his past.’ ‘He decided to give us the middle finger and air out all of his dirty laundry in public, while simultaneously lying about it,’ he wrote.” • Dear me!
GA: “Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker Debate Canceled” [BET]. “Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and former NFL player Herschel Walker, the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate, have a debate scheduled for Oct. 14 in Savannah, Ga. However, Warnock and Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver also agreed to a debate in Macon, Georgia, but Walker has not confirmed. The debate is now canceled.”
GA: “Warnock leading Walker by 5 points in Georgia Senate race: poll” [The Hill]. • September 29.
“Why the White House Tries to Pretend That Biden Doesn’t Forget Things” [National Review]. “Acknowledging a routine memory lapse is harmless to most presidents, but in this administration, admitting the president has forgotten anything is likely to spur the fair question, ‘say, how is Joe Biden’s memory these days?'” • Nifty picador work….
Democrats en Déshabillé
Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert
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.
* * *
“Most Latinos Say Democrats Care About Them and Work Hard for Their Vote, Far Fewer Say So of GOP” [Pew Research Center]. Wow, I wonder what that feels like. More: “Latino registered voters identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by a nearly two-to-one margin (64% vs. 33% in this year’s survey), with Latino party identification shifting little over the past few years. Even so, Latino registered voters’ future party affiliation remains uncertain. A 2021 Pew Research Center study of Americans’ political views found substantial shares of Latino voters fell into groups with soft ties to the political parties. For example, roughly one-in-ten Latino voters who identified as either a Democrat or Republican held political views that more closely aligned with the opposing party than with their own party.” And: “According to the new Center survey, a larger share of Hispanics have a negative than positive impression of socialism (53% vs. 41%). By contrast, Hispanics have a more positive than negative view of capitalism (54% vs. 41%). When it comes to socialism, Hispanic Democrats and Democratic leaners are split on how they view socialism (48% negative vs. 50% positive). Meanwhile, Hispanic Republicans and Republican leaners have a more negative impression of socialism, with nearly three-quarters (72%) viewing socialism negatively. Latinos ages 18 to 29 are more evenly divided in their views of socialism (46% positive vs. 50% negative), a pattern seen among all U.S. young people.”
“Progressives hunt for new, younger leaders post-Sanders-Warren era” [The Hill]. “‘We’ve been talking about fresh blood for years,’ said one Democratic strategist who reluctantly supported President Biden in the 2020 election. ‘Years! And every time we go back to the dinosaurs because we say we have nothing better.'”
“CPAC backtracks on tweet criticizing US aid to Ukraine” [The Hill]. “The Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) tweeted Saturday that its account delayed the deletion of an ‘unapproved’ post on the Ukrainian crisis due to the time difference of an event its hosting in Sydney, Australia. According to screenshots of the post shared on Twitter, CPAC had tweeted that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘announces the annexation of 4 Ukrainian-occupied territories’ while ‘Biden and the Dems continue to send Ukraine billions of taxpayer dollars.’ ‘Meanwhile, we are under attack at our southern border. When will Democrats put #AmericaFirst and end the gift-giving to Ukraine?’ CPAC wrote in the original post. The post went up Friday morning and was not taken down until sometime on Saturday. CPAC said there was a delay in deleting the ‘unapproved tweet’ because of a time difference, as the organization is currently hosting a conference in Australia. CPAC also acknowledged the post had ‘belittled the plight of the innocent Ukraine people.'” • Hmm.
Obama speaks in measured tones; he does not whine. Otherwise, on point:
Here's the full context of that quote where Obama petulantly whined that our critiques of his War on Terror and surveillance abuses were excessive.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 1, 2022
Realignment and Legitimacy
“How Government Ends” [Boston Review]. “[Administrative agencies] currently number 400 or so departments and offices—from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Securities and Exchange Commission to the Food and Drug Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Federal Election Commission—with over 3.5 million civilian and military employees, budgets totaling more than $1 trillion, and legal responsibilities covering the gamut of daily life. These agencies are created, funded, overseen, and given directions by Congress. Anyone who eats food, drinks water, breathes air, drives a car, takes medicine, receives mail, collects retirement benefits, or owns publicly traded stock—to name a tiny set of examples—has crossed paths, even if unwittingly, with the work of an administrative agency…. The Supreme Court long policed these kinds of legislative choices with a light touch, understanding that Congress was in a better position than the Court to identify the appropriate breadth of delegations of authority to agencies and the appropriate degree of political independence for them. But this long period of legislative hegemony and judicial restraint with respect to the powers and structure of federal agencies appears to be coming to an end. Deploying originalist arguments, the conservative justices on today’s Supreme Court have served notice—most recently in West Virginia v. EPA, decided this June—that they are prepared to weaken and restructure contemporary government in order to return us to their vision of our constitutional past. For these justices, the fact that their originalist interpretations of the views of the Constitution’s framers align perfectly with the deregulatory and anti-government program of today’s Republican party is a mere coincidence.”
• ”How the CDC’s communication failures during Covid tarnished the agency” [NBC]. “In one case, the agency sent teams from its headquarters in Atlanta to areas of the country where the earliest cases had been reported. One team was sent to Chicago, the city that reported the first documented human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. There, CDC officials met with local and state health officials to help facilitate early guidance, even though little was known about the new virus at the time. The team got on a conference call with CDC scientists in Atlanta to ask how they might best stop further spread of the virus. ‘If someone sneezes on a table, how long will the virus live on the table?’ they asked, according to a staffer familiar with the conversation. ‘What kind of precautions should they take? What kind of cleaning should be done?’ ‘Rather than saying, ‘We don’t know; we’re going to have to look into this,’’ the person said, the CDC scientists said they didn’t see a need for any special decontamination, because there was no science at the time to back it up. When local health officials on the call questioned the advice, the response from the CDC was ‘do what you think is best.’ There was a lot of weird looking around the room, like, ‘What do I do with that?’ Problems communicating guidance continued. The agency later flip-flopped on critical advice for the public, such as when people should wear masks, who should be tested after a Covid exposure and how the virus spreads.” • One nuggest of wisdom I did pick up at school is that whenever “communication failure” is invoked, that’s never the real problem. I’ve done a shallow dive and a deep dive into CDC’s response to Covid recently, and all I can say is that the rot goes very, very deep. If indeed our elites consider it rot, and not simply thinning the herd, a desireable outcome.
• “The College is failing to protect us from COVID. Here is how.” [The Williams Record]. “If I had a nickel for every one of my friends who has COVID-19 right now, I’d have about 12 nickels. Which is a lot, and at this point, it’s not weird that it’s happened that many times. The College’s COVID policies are sorely lacking in execution and content, and given the huge outbreak that most of us are intimately familiar with right now, students are hurting from it. I haven’t seen any of my suitemates in a week because they’re all self-isolating. Every day classes are a little emptier because someone else has gotten sick, but students have no way of knowing just how widespread the outbreak is — R.I.P. the COVID dashboard. Students deserve transparency and openness from the College. The dashboard is an essential tool for students when making informed decisions about masking and attending classes in person. And given that we have the data from the student positive reporting form, it shouldn’t be hard to create a modified dashboard tracking positive cases reported on campus. The College lacks the intention, not the means, to communicate with its students. The College’s arrival policies made absolutely no sense. Yes, , but the College should have known that our situation is unusual enough to require a more nuanced approach.” • [snort]. “Yes”? NOTE There’s note at the top of the article that says the administration addressed some of the concerns raised in this editorial. But maybe that’s just flak-catching.
• ”Impact of Age and Symptom Development on SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Households With Children—Maryland, New York, and Utah, August 2020–October 2022″ [Open Forum Infectious Diseases]. This article is full of CDC people, so I don’t get why it’s not in MMWR. Scientists? “Households are common places for SARS-CoV-2 to spread , and studies of households can be used to learn more about factors associated with virus transmission and susceptibility…. . Following participants through the Alpha and Delta waves, we hypothesized that a person’s age would not be associated with SARS-CoV-2 acquisition or transmission, COVID-19 vaccination status would protect against viral acquisition or transmission, and presence of symptoms would increase odds of transmission.” • Nothing on ventilation, then? Lol. There’s a boatload of anecdote on household transmission being prevented by isolation, Corsi boxes, opening windows, etc. You’d think that the Centers for Disease would be looking at what people can do.
• ”Why is the Government giving more money to Peter Daszak?” [Unherd]. “A familiar Covid-19-related name is back in the news. The NGO run by Peter Daszak has been granted another $600,000 by Anthony Fauci’s agency, NIAID. This, to say the least, has raised eyebrows… While recent headlines about a fresh $600,000 grant are accurate, the reality is that Daszak’s organization was awarded about five times that, $3.3 million, by the NIH to hunt viruses in south-east Asia.” • This is batty [thanks, I’ll be here all week]. Never mind Wuhan. Just look at the rest of the record.
• “New nasal spray vaccines might reduce COVID infections, but the money is still missing” [Boston Globe]. “While current shots are effective at preventing severe disease and death, they haven’t protected people from catching the virus. Some scientists say nasal vaccines will do a better job, because they stimulate a special class of antibodies in our noses that would stop the virus at the door, blocking infection. Dozens of academic labs and biotech firms, including Moderna, are working on nasal vaccines. A few countries, including India, recently approved them. Prominent researchers are calling for a coordinated effort to accelerate their development in the United States.” But: “Several researchers have called for a sequel to Operation Warp Speed, the
Trump Administration’s government’s $12 billion program that accelerated the testing of the initial COVID vaccines and bankrolled their production…. Plans for that sequel are in the works according to Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. In September at Globe Summit, The Boston Globe’s annual conference, Jha said the Biden administration is proposing an effort called ‘Project COVID Shield’ to speed next-generation vaccines and therapies. The administration requested $8 billion to support the project as part of a $47 billion budget proposal largely focused on the COVID pandemic and support for Ukraine. But debate on the vaccine funds was punted to avoid a government shutdown. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the administration wouldn’t give up on trying to secure that funding. The outlook for private funding is no more promising.” • “Won’t give up” = “fighting for,” I suppose.
• Hold it! Smile!
ℹ️ O uso de máscara deixou de ser obrigatório a bordo. Já tínhamos saudades dos vossos sorrisos! 😊
ℹ️ The use of a mask on board is no longer mandatory. We missed your smiles! 😊 pic.twitter.com/Yql8m92rkg
— TAP Air Portugal (@tapairportugal) August 29, 2022
• Smile! Hold it!
September 30th, Lufthansa: "Smiles are back!"
October 1st, German government: "Cases are through the roof, compulsory N95!"
We are the dumbest fucking species. We don't deserve to survive. pic.twitter.com/Dc848NGnUI
— Dr David Berger, aBsuRdiSTe cROnickLeR (@YouAreLobbyLud) October 1, 2022
• Ventilation tips and tricks:
I took some notes at a talk hosted by @OHCOWclinics, about #CleanAir. This graphic has been updated based on feedback from the brilliant @joeyfox85. Here's the new version: I hope this will help with Clean Air advocacy in Canada & everywhere!#CovidIsAirborne pic.twitter.com/npE6FsLMLL
— sam hester (@calgaryhester) September 20, 2022
• This is a very unsettling theory, which I think is a mere prank or jape. A thread:
Toxoplasma CoVidii – have you noticed that those who have gotten CoVid, suddenly seem to no longer care about avoiding it?
This is similar to Toxoplasma gondii which removes rats' fear of cats.https://t.co/tEBjUxSJCH
A 🧵 of Toxoplasma CoVidii stories pic.twitter.com/DvTWBIDGHs
— Lazarus Long (@LazarusLong13) October 2, 2022
Nobody I know who has gotten Covid wants to get it again. Nevertheless….
Lambert here: The Walgreens site (used for positivity and variants) is not working for me at all on either my Mac or my iPad, no matter what browser I use, or whether I turn my VPN on or off. The COVID-19 Community Profile Report from HeathData.gov is not updating its reports. I suppose this is how a pandemic ends, with sites simply going dark with no explanation?
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 ~53,100. Today, it’s ~45,800 and 45,800 * 6 = a Biden line at 274,800. (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 the first surge in New York, in the spring of 2020 (after which the Times printed the images of the 100,000 who died, considering that a large number, as it was at the time).
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:
Florida, come on. This isn’t funny.
Wastewater data (CDC), September 30:
Lambert here: I’m pleased to see that there are now some live sites in New York City.
For grins, September 26:
An alert reader suggested taking a look at the MWRA data from the Boston area, and lo and behold:
This is a seven-day average, mind you, so the rise is no fluke. Let’s see if it continues. Let us also remember that the Boston area is not only the home of many, many students, it’s also a PMC center, and we have already seen one ginormous superspreader event from the conference in Boston. Boston also has a major international airport, another cause of spread.
• “Local wastewater shows an uptick in COVID. What does it mean?” [WGBH]. “New data shows a recent uptick of COVID-19 virus levels in local wastewater — a trend that, while unsurprising, has caught the attention of some public health experts. ‘We’ve seen this the last several times when school has come back in session,’ said Andrew Lover, an assistant professor of epidemiology at UMass Amherst. ‘But it is a bit concerning that it’s so sudden and pretty high and [in] just a short period of time.’ Lover said part of the reason for this recent increase has to do with waning booster shots. The state’s most recent weekly COVID report, published Wednesday, shows less than half of people in their 20s have gotten at least one booster; just over half for people in their 30s; and 59% for those in their 40s. ‘The booster uptake is a bit lower than we had all hoped for,’ he said. ‘And so quite a lot of people are getting to probably the end or near the end of their protection.’ Looking overseas, the trends elsewhere don’t spell out a good future. ‘Right now, currently, the United Kingdom is seeing quite a quite a large wave,’ Lover said. ‘And they are a few weeks ahead of us.'”
SITE DOWN From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 21:
-0.5%. Not so much down, as fluky. Something seems to have nuked the layout.
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.
Lambert here: I have to say, I’m seeing more yellow and more blue, which continues to please.
NOT UPDATED AGAIN FFS Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), September 23:
I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers. Those two red areas in Northern Maine and upstate New York are both on the way to Quebec, Canada.
Previous Rapid Riser data:
NOT UPDATED AGAIN FFS Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), September 23:
Not a sea of green.
NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays. Not this week, though! Mr Covid’s on vacation? So the boys and girls don’t have to come into the office?
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].
SITE DOWN Variant data, national (Walgreens), September 10:
Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, despite its appearance in CDC data below.
Variant data, national (CDC), September 10 (Nowcast off):
• BA.2.75 showing impressive growth across The Pond:
Here's the latest variant picture for the United Kingdom:
– BA.2.75 "Centaurus" is showing impressive recent growth, rising from 1% to 10% frequency in just 13 days
– it's first generation of child sub-lineages are not enjoying similar success so far
— Mike Honey (@Mike_Honey_) October 1, 2022
Death rate (Our World in Data):
Total: 1,085,060 –
1,084,282 = 778 (778 * 365 = 283,970, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though 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 Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings in the US dropped to 10.1 million in August of 2022, the lowest since June 2021 from a downwardly revised 11.2 million in July and a record level of 11.9 million in March. Figures came below market expectations of 10.775 million but were still above pre-pandemic levels, suggesting demand for workers remained strong.” • Despite the best efforts of the Fed. (Random thought: Why is there no musical about the Fed? Like instead of Hamilton, Greenspan? The big production number: “I Made a Mistake.”
Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured goods were flat in August of 2022, after a 1 percent decrease in July and in line with market expectations.”
Logistics: “Hurricane Ian caused much destruction in Florida” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US increased for the first time in six months to 61.4 in September of 2022 from 59.7 in August which was the lowest since May of 2020. The reading pointed to sustained growth in the logistics industry, fueled by high levels of inventory (71.9 vs 67.6) and costs (77.2 vs 76.8). On the other hand, transportation metrics continue their slowed pace, reaching the second highest level of capacity growth (71.8 vs 64.3), and the third fastest rate of price contraction in the history of the index.”
Tech: “I tried the controversial internet tool that lets anyone create AI-generated art for free — here’s how to use DALL-E” [Insider]. “DALL-E generates images based on detailed text descriptions that a person types into a text box. Over 1.5 million people use DALL-E to make over 2 million images a day, according to OpenAI.” • I wonder if any readers have tried this? I loaded it, but they wanted my telephone number, so nope!
Tech: “Bug in fMRI software calls 15 years of research into question” [Wired]. fMRI = functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. “A bug in the software used by researchers to interpret fMRI data could invalidate fifteen years worth of neuroscientific research, a paper claims. Three of the most popular pieces of software for fMRI – SPM, FSL and AFNI – were all found to have false positive rates of up to 70 per cent. These findings could invalidate ‘up to 40,000 papers’, researchers claim. fMRI measures blood flow inside the brain and, by proxy, brain activity. It assumes cerebral blood flow is coupled or correlated with neural activity, and has been used to explore how the human brain responds to robots, how memory and imagination interact, how the brain looks when someone has an idea and more. ‘Though fMRI is 25 years old, surprisingly its most common statistical methods have not been validated using real data,’ said Anders Eklund.” • That “surprisingly” is enough to make me cynical.
— Global News Thailand 🇹🇭 (@GlobalNewsTH) October 3, 2022
The Bezzle: “Kim Kardashian fined $1 million by SEC over crypto promotion” [Associated Press]. “The long list of celebrities promoting cryptocurrencies just got shorter. Kim Kardashian is being barred from doing so for three years — and will pay a $1 million fine — to settle federal charges that she recommended a crypto security to her 330 million Instagram followers without making clear that she was paid to do so. The reality TV star also must give up the $250,000 she was paid for the Instagram post about Ethereum Max tokens, plus interest, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission settlement announced Monday. Kardashian is the latest celebrity to get ensnared in regulations that require full disclosure by people getting paid to promote financial products.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 29 Fear (previous close: 23 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 17 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).
Rapture Index: Closes up one on Wild Weather. “Hurricane Ian caused much destruction in Florida” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.)
“A causal test of the strength of weak ties” [Science]. The Abstract: “The authors analyzed data from multiple large-scale randomized experiments on LinkedIn’s People You May Know algorithm, which recommends new connections to LinkedIn members, to test the extent to which weak ties increased job mobility in the world’s largest professional social network. The experiments randomly varied the prevalence of weak ties in the networks of over 20 million people over a 5-year period, during which 2 billion new ties and 600,000 new jobs were created. The results provided experimental causal evidence supporting the strength of weak ties and suggested three revisions to the theory. First, the strength of weak ties was nonlinear. Statistical analysis found an inverted U-shaped relationship between tie strength and job transmission such that weaker ties increased job transmission but only to a point, after which there were diminishing marginal returns to tie weakness. Second, weak ties measured by interaction intensity and the number of mutual connections displayed varying effects. Moderately weak ties (measured by mutual connections) and the weakest ties (measured by interaction intensity) created the most job mobility. Third, the strength of weak ties varied by industry. Whereas weak ties increased job mobility in more digital industries, strong ties increased job mobility in less digital industries.”
News of the Wired
News you can use:
Older kid just taught me to make "fuck" a contact in my phone so it stops autocorrecting me to "duck" when I text.
I believe that children are the future.
— Jeff Melnick (@melnickjeffrey1) October 3, 2022
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 CG:
Adding, I could still use more plants!
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