Links 11/21/2022

Computer powered by colony of blue-green algae has run for six months New Scientist

Martian dust storms parch the planet by driving water into space Science

Pierre Wunsch: Germs, war and central banks (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. Interesting on r* and models.

5 killed, 25 injured in shooting at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado; gunman subdued by patrons KCRA. Commentary:


The COP jamboree desperately needs a reboot FT

Extreme lake effect snow around the Great Lakes The Watchers

2 volcanoes rumble into action in Russia’s far east AP

It’s not just the dump — it’s the dump trucks. Lee health officials to study health risk of GE’s proposed PCB site Trucker World. And the liners. Liners always fail.

The Difficult Search for Dangerous Space Junk WSJ


Post–COVID-19 Symptoms 2 Years After SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Hospitalized vs Nonhospitalized Patients JAMA. Last sentence: “Current evidence supports that long COVID will require specific management attention independently of whether the patient has been hospitalized or not.” So the singular focus of the CDC and the public health establishment on hospitalization as a metric (see CDC’s infamous “green map”) is, well, wrong.

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is more stable than the ancestral strain on various surfaces (preprint; PDF) bioRxiv. “We examined the stability of this SARS-CoV-2 variant on various surfaces and revealed that the Omicron variant is more stable than its ancestral strain on smooth and porous surfaces.” Commentary here: “But [Linsey Marr, a researcher on the airborne transmission of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 and a professor at Virginia Tech] stressed the study’s conditions don’t reflect real-world scenarios. The volume of droplets used in the lab research — five microlitres — might sound small, but it’s ‘actually huge compared to droplets we usually spew out,’ she said. That means the exact timings might not pan out for people living their daily lives, though Marr did feel the comparison between the ancestral virus and Omicron was notable.”

Proposed Non-infectious Air Delivery Rates (NADR) for Reducing Exposure to Airborne Respiratory Infectious Diseases (PDF) The Lancet COVID-19 Commission Task Force on Safe Work, Safe School, and Safe Travel. From the Executive Summary: “[SARSCoV-2] and other respiratory pathogens are effectively transmitted through the inhalation exposure route indoors, mostly in places with inadequate ventilation and filtration.”


China’s Guangzhou locks down, Beijing shuts schools over COVID Al Jazeera. First mention of ventilation I’ve seen (see quote in blue), which is encouraging:

China has the operational capabiity, industrially and as a state, to move beyond hazmat suits and do what it takes with ventilation. Hop to it!

Younger Chinese are spurning factory jobs that power the economy Reuters

The Koreas

(LEAD) S. Korea’s new COVID-19 cases at around 23,000 amid virus resurgence worries Yonhap News Agency

Deadline for Malaysia coalitions to present numbers, propose PM candidates extended to Tuesday: Palace Channel News Asia

How Malaysians Raced Against The Clock To Deliver At Least 33,000 Overseas Ballots Home For The Election Buzzfeed


Evacuation of CIA’s Afghan Proxies Opens the War’s Blackest Boxes The Intercept

European Disunion

European industry pivots to US as Biden subsidy sends ‘dangerous signal’ FT

Success of Germany game could lead to more NFL games across Europe and beyond Boston Globe. Sure, we deindustrialized them, but we gave them NFL football!

New Not-So-Cold War

‘Ordinary Germans are paying’: anti-war protests stretch across central Europe FT. Finally this story breaks through to the mainstream.

* * *

Ukraine’s Kherson Win Shifts Dynamics Across Whole Front With Russia WSJ

Ukraine shipping hub cheers as Kherson win foils Russian Black Sea hopes Hellenic Shipping News

* * *

German Army Facing Severe Arms Shortage, Has Ammo Only To Last 2 Days Of War, Says Top MP Republic World

* * *

Ukraine updates: Nuclear plant rocked by ‘explosions’ Deutsche Welle. Explosions from where? ‘Tis a mystery! (Except you know that if it were Russia, the fog would suddenly part…).

What happens if Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant explodes? Al Jazeera

* * *

“When I learned who Dylann Roof was, I began to admire him.” Ishgal

Police State Watch

The Department of Homeland Security is the pinnacle of bureaucratic dysfunction The Verge. Hat tip, Joe Lieberman.

DEA’s most corrupt agent: Parties, sex amid ‘unwinnable war’ ABC

TSA screeners missed boxcutter used to threaten passengers on chaotic flight NY Post

Biden Administration

A formula to finally get DoD on the path to clean financial audits Federal News Network


Trump says he has no interest in returning to Twitter after reinstatement The Hill

Schiff says ‘evidence is there’ to make a criminal referral against Trump The Hill. So why didn’t Garland do that?

The Bezzle

AWS and Blockchain Tim Bray

A Tempest in a Teapot? Policy Tensor

Finding Your Calling Lapham’s Quarterly. The deck: “Charles Ponzi becomes Charles Ponzi.”

How Intangible Assets Shape Markets Investor Amnesia

The Groves of Academe

How Colleges and Sports-Betting Companies ‘Caesarized’ Campus Life NYT (Re Silc).

Sports Desk

The eerily quiet $200billion World Cup stadiums marooned in the Qatar desert: Lacking in atmosphere with little fanfare and battered by sandstorms, the ‘no frills’ venues hosting football’s greatest showpiece Daily Mail

World Cup 2022: Capitalism can’t kill football — try as it might Al Jazeera

Imperial Collapse Watch

Assessing Trade-Offs in U.S. Military Intervention Decisions RAND. List price: $37.00 (!).

If you want to land a job or get a raise in the tech industry, you have to pass a test — and pretty much everyone is cheating on the exams Business Insider. Oh.

Class Warfare

Rail union votes could force Congress to head off a strike Politico. “Rail union votes could force Congress to side with workers.” Fixed it for ya.

* * *

The University of California Strike Has Been 50 Years in the Making Curbed

UC may dock pay from striking academic workers, faculty Daily Californian

UC’s striking workers do much of the actual teaching. Here’s why a ‘livable wage’ is so elusive San Francisco Chronicle

Flying solo? Airlines push to ditch co-pilots, cut costs despite safety fears South China Morning Post. Over-optimization. US rail firms want to do the same thing.

What happened to those cheap airline tickets? Elliott Confidential

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Dashing through the snow!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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.


  1. Billionaire Heroes!

    Space debris: the best of the best. How about the following?
    We put together an A-list of billionaires etc. Musk, Bezos, Gates, Khoroshawi, Zuckerberg, Page, Schmidt, Clinton, Biden, Blair etc. Feel free to take anyone from the gig-economy, surveillance economy, finance and war criminals.
    We string them together – because many billionaires together can achieve more. Each of them will get a part of space named after them so no need to fight for that spot. No worries.
    They get to sit on a VIP front-seat closes to the action. The front seat will look very much like a blade or bucket on a bulldozer, situated in the very front of a beautiful privatized spaceship. We can use both Musks and Bezos. They can compete! Billionaires like to compete! The space rumble of the bumble-billionaires!
    We send these people out in space and they can then nudge the space debris in different directions further out in space on an eternal journey somewhere or down in the atmosphere so they burn up. These billionaires get to see space a lot, exercise a lot and be creative in redirecting debris coming at them at a speed of 7-10 km/h.

    I miss the Covid-Heros. We need new ones. I propose the Space Billionaire Debris Heroes!

    1. Jon Cloke

      I thought it extremely funny that Twitter is now calling the new Duce Of Twitter Muskolini by the nickname Space Karen…

      I wanted to suggest that Sam Bankman-Fried should now be called Crypto-Caligula…

      How do y’all feel about that?

    2. lentil

      But wait — aren’t you proposing that we solve the problem of trash in space by sending more trash into space? /sarc

      1. Glen

        Yeah, that’s a bit of a problem.

        How about we orient it all to end up in the sun? That way, when we say that we all had a chance to bask in the brilliance of that billionaire, it means we were on the beach, catching some rays when the small “flash of brilliance” occurred.

    1. Nikkikat

      They missed the box cutters, but never do they miss rooting through your lunch bag and making you throw away that tiny container of salad dressing as the killer substance that it is.

      1. LaRuse

        Or in my poor Mother’s case, turning out her suitcase in the middle of Boston/Logan to investigate her threatening and deadly….incontinence pads. She’ll likely never fly again out of shame.
        I myself have never made it through screening without a patdown. Not once. Always abdomen and groin. I believe a surgery I had about 12 years ago that left internal staples is what gets me fondled every time.
        But box cutters can make it through?

        1. Questa Nota

          The process humiliation is integral to the user experience.
          It would be instructive to find out more about the TSA agent employment statistics, such as wage, benefit, turnover. Travelers would probably guess that turnover is pretty high, and morale is pretty low, contributing to that user experience noted above.

          On a lighter note, at least some airports now have those automated tray systems, where you get to retrieve and fill with shoes and such more easily now. :p

          1. JTMcPhee

            Haven’t flown since I got my second metal knee and mostly since COVID. No real point to air travel in my misanthropic hermit existence. Did get serious abuse from TSA thugs early in the days, for commenting on the incompetent meaningless pat-down that missed all the places weapons hide. Was in danger of strip and cavity search before higher “authority” stepped in.

            Never challenge an authoritarian martinet who has power over you. A lesson I never could be brought to learn in the Army, hence I held some kind of record for extra KP and guard duty (now mostly done by contractors.) Point of pride for me.

    2. will rodgers horse

      one wonders what new regs will come of this…Israel style screening?
      Anything to make us (the plebes) hate travel even more.

      You will have nothing and travel nowhere and be happy

  2. griffen

    NFL is planning to expand it’s footprint as the top (ok, just one) exporter of US branded professional football. Consideration is being given to play their games in Spain, or perhaps France.

    Bread will be handed out to encourage the masses to attend. Are you not entertained? \sarc

    1. griffen

      And on the other hand, juxtaposition a fun filled time watching Tom Brady and the Bucs winning last week at the Munich game versus the stark scene painted for the 8 stadiums hosting festivities for the World Cup.

      FIFA is gonna own this “own goal” for a long time. Not enough time remains to gin up enthusiasm to visit these substantial non fun venues to watch the highest levels of the game. Drink water and do not dance!! Okay you may drink near beer if you really insist on fun.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “The eerily quiet $200billion World Cup stadiums marooned in the Qatar desert: Lacking in atmosphere with little fanfare and battered by sandstorms, the ‘no frills’ venues hosting football’s greatest showpiece”

    Even with all those slave workers, they ran out of time. A news crew visited a coupla building which were going to be for visitors but were just not finished. Bare concrete floors and the like. Some visitors found their accommodations to be huts just like the workers had but they said at least they had air-con. It all makes a poor comparison with the last games in Russia so I expect there to be questions after on how did the Qatar government get the rights for these games.

    1. fresno dan

      … I expect there to be questions after on how did the Qatar government get the rights for these games.
      The free market….in bribery…well, let’s not use that word – so harsh. Let us just say the market returns, through varios financial mechanisms, to the people picking the venue were highest from Qatar. Now, that doesn’t sound too illegal, does it???

    2. Bugs

      The videos are exactly what the Gulf is like day-to-day. Nothingness. A few cars and trucks on perfectly paved roads, sand blowing over them. South Asian workers (mostly Pakistanis and Keralans) out in the sun working. Other people are holed up in malls and hotels, or between an office and a tract home. The princes in their compounds. You can’t stay outside for long.

      I’d be interested if anyone has lived there and can speak to it. I’ve only been there for work and in transit to better places.

    3. QuicksilverMessenger

      And we thought FIFA could not get more corrupt after the disappearance of Septic Bladder (er, I mean Sepp Blatter). Infantino said ‘hold my beer’. As a young kid, my first WC experience was trying to find the games on TV in the States for Spain ’82. CBC in Canada had one game a day, PBS showed highlights in the evening, and ABC had occasional matches (one being the great Brazil-Italy match). I think I found that part of the allure being in the US then. Now of course it’s everywhere and just swimming in ungodly amounts of money. And the brutal conditions in Qatar just make think “what they hell were they thinking?”

  4. fresno dan

    A Tempest in a Teapot? Policy Tensor
    On the pages of Nation, Jeet Heer singled out Matthew Yglesias and David Shor; condemning them for their centrist neoliberalism. I’m not sympathetic to arguments by labeling. Anyway, luckily for both, they seemed to have dodged a bullet in that they had not yet accepted a check from SBF.

    Plenty of others did; almost all of the them Democrat. This is hardly a new game for tech money and Dems. But what makes the fallout really explosive here is that Democrats were not only on SBF’s payroll, Democrat senators were out selling the contaminated securities to gullible Americans on live television. Democrats will also try to fight a fighting retreat, but honestly, it’ll going to prove mighty hard for them to evade the fallout.

    The big question is whether SBF’s political spending bought Democrat policy on this question. Senator Hawley has rightly demanded an investigation into this nexus.
    The loci of the legitimation crisis extend well beyond the crypto bros, EA, and EA-adjacent scribes like Matt Yglesias and Eric Levitz. While FTX has been demonstrated to be securities fraud, EA as intellectual fraud, and EA-adjacent scribes as some combination of gullible and self-serving, the crisis of authority extends well beyond — to the Senate, the SEC, venture-capitalist firms that went in heavy, institutional capital allocators, and so on and so forth. Heads will probably roll at Sequoia, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan — all of these fiduciaries who invested in FTX clearly failed to perform their due diligence as required by the law. They might even get engulfed in lawsuits, just as Senator Gillibrand may be investigated for conflicts of interest and perhaps even forced to withdraw from public affairs in humiliation.
    This is before we come to the much more complex but also more important question of the broader fallout on elite-mass relations. Whereas crypto during the bubble signaled a kind of social dynamism, it will henceforth be seen as a symptom of the deep corruption of American elites. That cannot fail to exacerbate the secular deterioration of elite-mass relations and the broader crisis of authority in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere in the West as well.
    I’m not sure what “EA” stands for – electronic arts?
    “… as a symptom of the deep corruption of American elites” – I think the corruption of American elites was evident a LONG time ago…
    The big question is whether SBF’s political spending bought Democrat policy on this question. I think it obviously did buy policy, and I think this exposes indisputably how “our democracy” (an advertizing slogan) actually works.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that it was Business Insider that were pushing the idea several months ago how young people should use crypto-currency to fund their retirement with. That would work out well.

      1. Craig H.

        Sam Bankman-Fried was huge in the Effective Altruism cult.

        The other day there was a link here on Naked Capitalism to a New Statesman article on Elon Musk’s effective philosopher or some similar headline. Will McKaskil. They are a tiny minority but vocal. If you want to see some of the gymnastics they are going through at rationalizing having their star player the focus of scandal, read some of the commentary here:

        Responsibility and Reform: Is EA learning the right lessons from FTX?

        1. semper loquitur

          Thanks, that was an interesting skim, my take-away is that no one ever seems to question the apparatus that allows a handful of individuals and organizations to accumulate skads of wealth and then, luxuriously, sit around and game-theorize how best to save the world with it all. How much harm is caused by that act of accumulation? How many lives were lost, opportunities squandered, and general harm done so that a fraction of the population had the money to hand over to SBF in the first place? The system of exploitation is the terra firma of this pseudo-philosophical chicanery, it appears, the unquestionable monad.

          1. hunkerdown

            Affective altruism: “Selflessness is not the strategy, it’s the prize.” -Graeber

            To question the ruling ideas has never been purely salutary for the courtier’s career flow. It also does not increase one’s standing in what Graeber called “the battle over access to the right to behave altruistically”. The economic denial of discretionary surplus to the bulk of the human species is an important part of that battle. If everyone is distinguished, nobody is.

            1. semper loquitur

              It reminds me of a joke I heard once. A rich man, a poor man, and a preacher are talking in church. The rich man declares “I am nothing before the glory of God!” The preacher nods and says “I too am nothing before God!” The poor man agrees and states “I am also nothing before God!”

              The rich man and the preacher turn to one another and ask “Who this bum is who says he is nothing?!”

        2. fresno dan

          thanks, but then in the link: But the act of adding or subtracting these numbers for EV or net benefit calculations
          I would ask what “EV” is, but I’ve reached maximum BARC (brain acronym retention capacity).
          Fortunately, the article did define HCA – High Certainty Altruism (HCA) is a more responsible and honest description of the methods involved in this type of giving.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They forbid beer at the last moment and now they forbid gay armbands. Be really tough if you were a drunk, gay person in Qatar.

    2. Jeff V

      The armbands seemed like the ultimate empty gesture to me, a consequence-free way of “taking a stand”.

      Well done to FIFA for turning wearing them into a brave act of defiance with adverse consequences for those who still want to make a statement.

      Needless to say, none of the teams will now be doing so, since it will hinder their chances of winning football matches.

      And in case anyone was worried, alcohol will still be freely available in the corporate hospitality sections of the stadiums. It’s only the football fans who can’t be trusted with it.

      1. mrsyk

        Somebody here, I think it was Wuk, used (perhaps coined) the phrase “football O’Douligans”, for which I will be forever grateful.

      2. DorothyT

        Jeff V wrote: “The armbands seemed like the ultimate empty gesture to me, a consequence-free way of “taking a stand”.”

        Consequence-free? We live in different worlds.

        1. Jeff V

          I’m not a captain of a football team at the World Cup, so it’s not about what world I live in. (Presumably you aren’t either?)

          Having said that, if I was to wear an armband the consequences for me would be minor, and might even be mildly positive, so we probably do live in different worlds.

  5. Watt4Bob

    My guess for why they aren’t indicting Trump.

    It’s because of the grain of truth in his claim that “It’s so unfair”.

    In billionaire land, everybody is doing exactly what they are accusing him of doing, inflating the worth of their properties when borrowing, and down grading their worth to avoid taxes.

    IMHO, Indicting Trump would open a can of worms that no one at the top wants to open.

    The price of this non-action is leaving the door open for his continuing political viability.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “European industry pivots to US as Biden subsidy sends ‘dangerous signal’”

    ‘Politicians warn of investment exodus across Atlantic, driven by US incentives and cheaper gas prices’

    All part of the plan to de-industrialize the EU so that it can never be a competitor to the US while cannibalizing it at the same time for the benefit of Wall Street. So yes, everything is going to plan. Of course it will weaken the US position in the world in the long run as instead of having a strong union of allies, at best there will only be a weaken bunch of satraps – supposing that the EU will still exist by the end of the decade. Not that you can convince leaders like Macron of any of this- (46 secs)

    And I do wonder about his smirk when talking of monkeys.

    1. digi_owl

      The eternal question mark is how the blob managed to convince so much of the European power structure to agree to this self-immolation of the continent’s economy.

      1. hunkerdown

        With the stick of DNC/Twitter psyops established, what more carrot do they need but a beachside villa in sunny, warm Rat Mouth, Florida?

    2. wilroncanada

      Trump just talked a good game about making America great again by returning industry to the US from China (and the rest of Asia). Biden has done him a thousand times better–bringing back industry to the US by shutting down Europe.

  7. Lexx

    ‘5 killed, 25 injured in shooting at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado; gunman subdued by patrons’

    My first impression of Colorado Springs as a teenager, and it was one that stayed with me for decades, was how visually beautiful the city is on the outside, in a state full up with naturally beautiful Rocky Mountain backdrops.

    What I couldn’t have comprehended then and still can’t quite take in, is how deeply conservative and violently intolerant some of the people who live there are. The press always mentions the air force academy but there are three air force installations there, an army base, and one of the largest evangelical megachurches in the state, in addition to Focus on the Family as an organization. Those institutions may not be be directly involved in the motive for the shooting, but they do foster violent intolerance in action in the local culture, and call it ‘righteous’. They didn’t pull the trigger but they do hold up ‘the way of the gun’.

    Meanwhile in District 3…

    Gawds help us all. I got a condolence email from a gay pen pal in Palm Springs, which was the first I’d heard she’d won. Expletive.

      1. Mikel

        The relatives that hold public office are an interesting part, but the threats and violence toward women are more of the usual background when it comes to so many mass shooters:

        “Aldrich was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported to police he was threatening to harm her with a homemade bomb and multiple weapons, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado Springs…”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Younger Chinese are spurning factory jobs that power the economy’

    I suppose that the Chinese could take a leaf out of the way that the advanced nations handled the same problem in its earlier history. They could just import workers from impoverished countries to do this sort of work for them. And the way that things are going, there is going to be no shortage of impoverished countries by next year.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine’s Kherson Win Shifts Dynamics Across Whole Front With Russia”

    Yeah, but not quite the way that the Wall Street Journal is thinking. All the problems that the Russians had holding Kherson city? Now the Ukrainians have the same problems. And the Ukrainians have realized that they cannot garrison the entire city with the numbers of soldiers that they have and supplies are problematical. The Ukrainians may even have to evacuate their civilians from that city like the Russians did. And any Ukrainians that get across the river to establish a beach head find themselves in a kill zone. That front is now solid. And trying to move excess Ukrainian troops to other sectors of the front is not so easy anymore with the rail network experiencing problems with energy supplies. Not quite the victory that they thought that it would be.

  10. Cian

    If you want to land a job or get a raise in the tech industry, you have to pass a test

    I don’t have a strong feeling either way on this one, but I will note that the tests themselves are very bad and don’t test proficiency. They exist largely because companies don’t want to/know how to properly evaluate the technical ability of new hires, so they use these (very expensive) tests as a proxy. And if companies were willing to train people, these tests wouldn’t need to exist. But companies only want to hire people with the exact skills they want – because they’re cheap.

    1. Ranger Rick

      I suspect there’s a significant motive to make it as difficult to move between companies as possible — for a long while the only way to get a raise in tech was to quit your job and get a new one. It has been a while since I paid attention to surveys or industry talk, but my understanding is the average tech worker’s tenure in any one place is 20-24 months.

      1. hunkerdown

        But anyone can save their latte money and study/test/get their own personal cert, and take it anywhere that respects it.

        In combination with the Z-library bust, I think the complaining about testing is driven by capital and the PMC trying to find other, non-Ukraine angles to continue their war on knowledge.

    2. scott s.

      The whole IT cert environment is just a marketing feature. I remember BITD you either had your MS cert or your Novell cert. Then along came the internet with no corp ownership hence no cert.

    3. John Beech

      No offense Cian, but what you’ve said doesn’t make sense to me. Like, how is a tech company any different from any other company, say an HVAC contractor?

      Your 3rd sentence states in part; ‘. . . if companies were willing to train people, these tests wouldn’t need to exist.’ and you continue with your closing sentence, ‘But companies only want to hire people with the exact skills they want – because they’re cheap’

      Respectfully, I urge you to think through what you just wrote. If an HVAC contractor needs to hire an HVAC-tech, you’re saying don’t be so cheap, train him, right? So why do folks go to technical colleges to learn how to become an HVAC technician? And no offense, but learning to do HVAC work is not trivial and a 1st year grad is clueless compared to a fellow doing it for 10 years.

      Same thing holds with developer work, you become proficient in javascript and if a company needs a .js developer, then they hire one. Part of the process involves a leet code tests ‘expressly’ to see if he knows what he claims. So no, there’s no way on Earth do they train him up to become a developer. It’s just not practical.

      Please reconsider your views.

      1. Yves Smith

        In Alabama, it requires only 2 years of community college to qualify for HVAC licensing. By contrast, for the last >10 years, on Slashdot, I have seen regular complaints about the lack of entry level jobs in computer tech and solicitations for advice. The greybeards don’t have much help to offer.

        People like Robert Cringley have also maintained that the widespread use of outsourced Indian IT as our replacement for entry level techs is more costly that using domestic people and he’s explained long form why. But like Chinese foot binding, no one individually can break out of the system.

        And surely you know draconian non-competes are becoming more common than they ought to be. Employers who hired entry level workers could prevent them from quitting or require they stay for X years.

  11. Carolinian

    My memory is hazy but didn’t the movie Airplane have an inflatable co-pilot? The airlines could try that out to keep passengers from complaining to the robo-stewardess.

    1. flora

      adding: imo they use the term “magic virus” in the sense of govts’ acting in a “never let a crisis go to waste” fashion. I’m not put off by their use of the term. / ;)

      (I personally know said virus is real and is not the flu as we understand the flu.)

  12. Mikel

    “S. Korea’s new COVID-19 cases at around 23,000 amid virus resurgence worries” Yonhap News Agency

    Considering the possible time lag in gathering stats and reporting them, anyone else thinking about that big (and tragic) Halloween Party in S. Korea?

    1. semper loquitur

      It’s the real thing. And don’t be fooled by that beautiful beak and obviously intelligent eye. Toucans are brutal. Search Youtube for videos of them eating small parrots alive and then tell me how wonderful they are…

  13. Jason Boxman

    If those certification tests are so easily cheated, there’s no legitimacy to those certifications at all. If they aren’t live on-site lab-based tests that involve actually configuring real test systems, it’s all nonsense. It’s also possible to do this entirely online, although it is more difficult and privacy invasive. For example, Red Hat has done live exams for their RHEL certifications for decades and they’re the gold standard of Linux certification. No cheating potential there.

    The real issue here is companies using junk certifications as a litmus test for competency. Garbage in, garbage out. The whole thing is just a grift.

  14. Peace Activist

    DHS origins, Gore losing, Middle East quaqmires, Joe Liberman D, Tel Aviv, is political syphillis, the “gift” (think German), that keeps on spreading.

  15. LawnDart

    Larry Johnson could use your help:

    [Re; FTX] I hope that the appropriate governing authorities are conducting a full-scale investigation. In the meantime, what do you know about any of these companies/organizations and the people who helped get FTX up and running? I am flattered to have such an urbane, smart group of people from around the world who take the time to read and comment on my articles. I am betting that some of you have some insights on some of these companies and can help shed light on whether there were some nefarious intents at the beginning or if people who should have known better failed to do their due diligence.

    What do you think?

    I think it sound like fun!

  16. lentil

    re: “The University of California Strike Has Been 50 Years in the Making” (Curbed)

    Former UC staffperson here.
    This article offers a couple of sentences acknowledging that a strike is occurring at UC, while the entire rest of the piece is an attack on Prop 13 (California’s limitation on property tax). Do I have this right — the author is saying the high cost of living in California and the low wages of university workers — is all because taxes in California are not HIGH enough? hahahahaha

    The UC has one of the Top 10 highest university endowments, with over 7.5 BILLION in the bank. If CA. higher education is hurting so very much under Prop 13, then where did all this money come from? And why doesn’t the UC use some of that money to pay its workers a living wage?

    The article also ignores the fact that there are many unions at UC, and they tend to go on strike almost every time that their contract is up for renewal: the unions make demands, the University refuses, and the workers go on strike until an agreement is reached. Does it have to be like this? I don’t know. But that is what happens. And none of it has to do with Prop 13.

    “50 years in the making”? How about 2 years? Some of us remember the grad student strikes from 2020-21, when the UC spent hundreds of thousands on security and policing the strike, and then fired all the grad students.

    My sympathies are 100% with the workers. Go UAW!!!

    1. juno mas

      My take on the article is that Prop. 13 limited the available funding of the UC System which eliminated California’s stated goal of “no tuition” and replaced it with increasing “fees” (not tuition). The expense of operating the UC System is now being born on the backs of those who do the real work; while the Administrators live in expensive houses for “free”.

      Having graduated from the System before the introduction of tuition or “fees”, I can say, “I was lucky”.

  17. Karl

    RE: Striking UC academic workers

    A lot of the article is about the high cost of housing rent charged by UC. UC is the rentier charging, in many cases, over 50% of salaries being paid to the striking instructors.

    Key quote:

    Union officials say the cost [of the proposed settlement] is likely to be as much as $2 billion — but still say that is “just 4.5% of UC’s total budget” of $46.4 billion.

    It sounds like UC is way behind the curve on understanding the high cost of living in CA, particularly housing. Things are stuck and the Union wants a mediator. In the meantime, it’s the students who suffer the most.

    These fundamental problems should not have blind-sided the Regents and UC administrators. So what led to this impasse? Laziness? Stubborness? Stupidity? Pettiness?


  18. Karl

    RE: Afghan militias resettled in U.S. open the “black box” of their ops (Intercept)

    This should be required reading for any non-U.S. forces, anywhere in the world, fighting proxy wars for the U.S. on the CIA payroll.

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    “What happens if Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant explodes?”

    I have watched the HBO series Chernobyl several times now. If that series was based on a reasonable amount of fact — as I believe it was — there is a small problem glossed over in this link’s review of the potential outcomes should Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant explode. One possibility the link covers is the probably, remote chance [?], that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant might suffer melt down. I do not know the situation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, but the Chernobyl melt down threatened to burn its way through the cement slab under the reactor and on down to the water table that fed into the Danube river.

    I hope I just need to add a few more layers to my tin foil hat and sing “la,la,la, … la”.

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