2:00PM Water Cooler 3/15/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, brunch for me today was both longer and more liquid than I anticipated. So bear with me as I stumble through Water Cooler as best I can, having gotten a late start.

Bird Song of the Day

Eastern Bluebird (Eastern), Connecticut Hill Road; Kermit Cutter’s place (formerly Caslick farm), Tompkins, New York, United States. “Unbroken cut with internal recordist announcement gain change.”

* * *


“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Biden Administration

“How Biden saved Silicon Valley startups: Inside the 72 hours that transformed U.S. banking” [Politico]. “The swift and forceful action to rescue depositors at the two failed midsize lenders rewrote crucial banking guardrails in ways that could reverberate for years. It put the Biden administration’s stamp — for good or ill — on the sector’s future financial stability, while sending a message about the government’s willingness to rescue private businesses in new ways. It also was done without passing a single new act of Congress or holding hearings among elected officials in recent days. And it almost didn’t happen. President Joe Biden began the weekend highly skeptical of anything that could be labeled a taxpayer-funded bailout, according to four people close to the situation, who were not authorized to speak for attribution. Yet as officials worked through the weekend — mostly in open-ended virtual meetings tying several agencies together — to determine the blast radius of SVB’s failure, they concluded that failing to protect the bank’s depositors could leave small businesses across the country unable to access money needed to pay workers and keep their operations going.” • Well, that seems to be the narrative.


“Harris traveling to Iowa for first trip to the state as VP” [The Hill]. “Vice President Harris will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday for her first trip to the state as vice president. In Iowa, the vice president will meet with local leaders to discuss Democrats’ fight to protect reproductive rights and participate in a roundtable, her office announced on Tuesday. Harris has traversed the country in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and has met with local leaders and advocates to discuss abortion issues. She has been the out-front face and lead messenger in the administration on pushing back on GOP-led state laws restricting abortion access and supporting states that have protected abortion access.”

Since Ramaswamy is running for President:

Sounds like the RINOs can’t say this, hence the focus on DIE initiatives at SVB board-level (which is red meat for MAGA, too. After all, what red-blooded American wouldn’t want to be inundated with hundreds of millions of dollars in stupid money?). Meanwhile, liberal Democrats are all “Will no one think of the donors?”

“Marianne Williamson says 2024 bid is not a challenge to Biden but to a system” [Guardian]. Last sentence: “The Democratic National Committee has indicated that the party doesn’t plan to hold primary debates.” • Well, maybe Biden could debate himself. “I thought Biden would be here.”

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!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“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.

* * *

Yeah, and?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Iowa Poll: Strong majority opposes using eminent domain for carbon-capture pipelines” [Des Moines Register]. “At a time when the state is deeply divided politically, Iowans are largely united in their opposition to carbon-capture pipeline companies using eminent domain to force unwilling landowners to sell them access to their property, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows. The poll shows 78% of Iowans oppose companies using the state-granted power to build carbon-capture pipelines across the state, while 15% are in favor and 7% are unsure.” • I wonder if this will be an issue in the Iowa primary (the Republican primary, at least, the DNC having ungratefully nuked the Iowa caucuses).


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data).

• Readers, thanks for the push. We are now up to 38/50 states (76%). Could those of you in states not listed help out by either with dashboard/wastewater links, or ruling your state out definitively? Thank you! (I think I have caught up with everybody I missed.)

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard), Marin; CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, Joe, John, JM (6), JW, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (4), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3). (Readers, if you leave your link in comments, I credit you by your handle. If you send it to me via email, I use your initials (in the absence of a handle. I am not putting your handle next to your contribution because I hope and expect the list will be long, and I want it to be easy for readers to scan.)

• More like this, please! Total: 1 6 11 18 20 22 26 27 28 38/50 (76% of US states). We should list states that do not have Covid resources, or have stopped updating their sites, so others do not look fruitlessly. Thank you!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

Leaving this one up for another day because it’s important:

“Introducing: The Covid Underground” [Covid Underground]. The deck: “Welcome to The Covid Underground, a newsletter for the Covid-free movement and all of those who continue to avoid infection.” More: “True health is the ability to change. About 10-30% of the U.S. population has changed their lives in the light of the freeing revelations of 2020, and we keep changing. We are dynamically, creatively faithful to what was— briefly— plain to all: normal is a dangerous illusion.” • Worth a read.

* * *

Finding like-minded people on (sorry) Facebook:

“Covid Meetups” [COVID MEETUPS (JM)]. “A free service to find individuals, families and local businesses/services who take COVID precautions in your area.” • I played around with it some. It seems to be Facebook-driven, sadly, but you can use the Directory without logging in. I get rational hits from the U.S., but not from London, UK, FWIW.

Covid Is Airborne

Corsi-Rosenthal Box tIp to keep dog and cat hair out of your filters:

The whole thread is interesting, on how often you should change your filters, but I thought this tip was really good. More Yankee ingenuity.

Interesting test. Readers?

Elite Malfeasance

“Operators of upscale L.A. care facility charged in 14 COVID deaths” [Los Angeles Times (CF)]. “The employee and residents died during the outbreak, in which 45 employees and 60 residents were infected, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office…. The facility was meant to be closed to visitors, prosecutors said, when it admitted a patient from a New York psychiatric unit. Silverado Beverly Place’s own protocols required it to not admit anyone from a high-risk area like New York City, which was considered an epicenter of COVID-19 at the time…. Prosecutors say the patient was not tested for the coronavirus when they were admitted and showed symptoms the next morning. But after they tested positive, they were not quarantined, according to the criminal charges. Management at the facility did not block visitors who traveled domestically or internationally within 14 days to areas where COVID-19 cases were confirmed, prosecutors allege.” • Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo is still on the street. I guess his victims weren’t “upscale”?

* * *

Looks like “leveling off to a high plateau” across the board. (I still think “Something Awful” is coming, however. I mean, besides what we already know about.) Stay safe out there!

Case Data

NOT UPDATED BioBot wastewater data from March 13:

For now, I’m going to use this national wastewater data as the best proxy for case data (ignoring the clinical case data portion of this chart, which in my view “goes bad” after March 2022, for reasons as yet unexplained). At least we can spot trends, and compare current levels to equivalent past levels.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from March 11:

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Anyhow, I added a grey “Fauci line” just to show that Covid wasn’t “over” when they started saying it was, and it’s not over now.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published March 15:

-2.4%. Still high, but at last a distinct downturn.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,149,253 – 1,148,993 = 260 (260 * 365 = 94,900 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).

★ NEW ★ Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED (but updating). Excess deaths (The Economist), published March 7:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learnning model. Again, we see a high plateau. I”m not sure how often this updates, and if it doesn’t, I’ll remove it. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NY Empire State Manufacturing Index sank to -24.6 in March of 2023, from -5.8 in February, and well below market forecasts of -8.”

* * *

Banks: Ed Harrison has not figured much at NC since the Great Financial Crash. But he’s very bright, level-headed, and worth listening to:

Readers, thoughts?

The Bezzle: “Chatbots shouldn’t use emojis” [Nature]. “Public debates about the ethics of ‘generative AI’ have rightly focused on the ability of these systems to make up convincing misinformation. I share that worry. But fewer people are talking about the chatbots’ potential to be emotionally manipulative. Both ChatGPT, a chatbot developed by OpenAI in San Francisco, California, and the Bing chatbot — which incorporates a version of GPT-3.5, the language model that powers ChatGPT — have fabricated misinformation. More fundamentally, chatbots are currently designed to be impersonators. In some ways, they act too much like humans, responding to questions as if they have conscious experiences. In other ways, they act too little like humans: they are not moral agents and cannot be held responsible for their actions. Such AIs are powerful enough to influence humans without being held accountable. Limits need to be set on AI’s ability to simulate human feelings. Ensuring that chatbots don’t use emotive language, including emojis, would be a good start. Emojis are particularly manipulative. Humans instinctively respond to shapes that look like faces — even cartoonish or schematic ones — and emojis can induce these reactions. When you text your friend a joke and they reply with three tears-of-joy emojis, your body responds with endorphins and oxytocin as you revel in the knowledge that your friend is amused.”

The Bezzle:

Seems odd. Perhaps Open AI’s training set sucked up a boatload of copyrighted IP? And that would be the “artificial” component of AI, given that’s something other technologies aren’t “allowed” to do, whatever that means these days if you’re VC-backed?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 25 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 14 at 1:45 PM ET.

The Gallery

“Paintings by Turner and Monet depict trends in 19th century air pollution” [PNAS]. The Abstract: “Individual paintings by artists including Vincent van Gogh and Edvard Munch have been shown to depict specific atmospheric phenomena, raising the question of whether longer-term environmental change influences stylistic trends in painting. Anthropogenic aerosol emissions increased to unprecedented levels during the 19th century as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Western European cities, leading to an optical environment having less contrast and more intensity. Here, we show that trends from more figurative to impressionistic representations in J.M.W. Turner and Claude Monet’s paintings in London and Paris over the 19th century accurately render physical changes in their local optical environment. In particular, we demonstrate that changes in local sulfur dioxide emissions are a highly statistically significant explanatory variable for trends in the contrast and intensity of Turner, Monet, and others’ works, including after controlling for time trends and subject matter. Industrialization altered the environmental context in which Turner and Monet painted, and our results indicate that their paintings capture changes in the optical environment associated with increasingly polluted atmospheres during the Industrial Revolution.” • Wowsers. I’ve always wondered why Turner’s sky was so yellow:

Or Monet’s so magenta (I think that’s magenta):

I don’t think my views on Turner’s yellow haze are the result of viewing digital reprodutions; I remember remarking on this when I saw a bunch of Turner’s at the National Gallery in London. But I thought it was his choice of palette, not the atmosphere. Could be wrong, though!

Groves of Academe

“The insufficiency of validity” [Lars P. Syll]. “Mainstream economics is at its core in the story-telling business whereby economic theorists create make-believe analogue models of the target system – usually conceived as the real economic system. This modelling activity is considered useful and essential. Since fully-fledged experiments on a societal scale as a rule are prohibitively expensive, ethically indefensible or unmanageable, economic theorists have to substitute experimenting with something else. To understand and explain relations between different entities in the real economy the predominant strategy is to build models and make things happen in these ‘analogue-economy models’ rather than engineering things happening in real economies. Formalistic deductive ‘Glasperlenspiel’ can be very impressive and seductive. But in the realm of science, it ought to be considered of little or no value to simply make claims about the model and lose sight of reality.” • “Glasperlenspiel” = “The Glass Bead Game.” Holy cow, now I have to read Hesse? One of the books in my father’s library I never got to (and in retrospect, either his students were reading it, or he put it there for me).

Zeitgeist Watch

Safe rooms in schools?!

And we wonder why our children are, if not drugged to the eyeballs, anxious and depressed. (Special hat tip on the externality thing to the gun-humpers, but also to the climate denialists. Don’t ever change, you’re doing great.)

Class Warfare

News of the Wired

“How a monument to my great-great-grandfather could help tackle the scourge of plastic pollution” [Guardian]. “Once there were a thousand or more drinking fountains in London, and many more around the country, built from the 1860s onwards to provide clean piped water for those with access only to dirty public pumps, such as the one in Soho that was proven by John Snow to be the source of a cholera outbreak. Many beautiful and often eccentric drinking fountains were built by private subscription all over the country, but they fell into disrepair, with many demolished after the 1950s. You may pass one daily without noticing the neglected, water-less lump of stone. The Drinking Fountain Association is trying to track each one around the country, and the Heritage of London Trust (Holt), with no public funds, is in the process of restoring 100 of them. Local authorities are far from cooperative, even when not asked to contribute, claiming health and safety concerns (this is the same water that is piped into homes) or cost (grants and local fundraising can do it: the Toynbee fountain restoration cost Holt £16,789, plus Thames Water’s reconnection charge.) This is not just a fad for antiquarians. The point is to make refilling water bottles the norm and throw-away plastic unthinkable. Fountains work: when the St Paul’s recreation ground fountain in Brentford was restored a year ago, engaging local children, 94% of park users drank and refilled from it, with 55% saying it had stopped them from using plastic bottles. Fountains attract children who press in vain on long dead taps: restoration is an anti-plastic education campaign.”

“I Love You, Now Leave Me Alone: What Friendship Means to an Introvert” [New York Times]. “‘I think the message for people who are introverts is: Don’t view your introversion as an impediment,’ Dr. [Marisa] Franco said. ‘Instead, think of it as a style of connecting.'” • Franco is, apparently, an expert who studies introversion, and identifies as an introvert. I just don’t want to embrace the extroversion suck. At brunch, I talked for two very enjoyable hours with one evidently interested person and learned a lot of useful information (and hopefully shared some), while the rest of our table got progressively more wasted and yammered at each other. Who’s got the impediment?

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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 JL:

JL writes: “Every time we think this lily is done for the year, it pops out a new round of flowers. The scent of the flower is… unusual. Chemically floral with hints of mint candy and some sort of fruit.”

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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. griffen

    How Biden saved (bailed out) the start ups, oh and their influential board members (one of whom quoted in the article is a former Obama admin official). More vomit inducing news about this story. The money quote comes at the end, from none other than Representative Maxine Waters. Tangentially, notice how past problems like the subprime mortgage loan originators were practically centered in CA or more broadly on the West Coast? It’s like flies to a big bug zapper I guess.

    “The government is not bailing out anything…they’re going to be held accountable” Our federal government has prior form of holding anyone accountable. And I have to strongly differ on this point, as a few people in the crowd have a functional brain and a functioning memory.

    1. Pat

      An article about how Signature was one of two banks Broadway used had at least two references to thanking Chuck Schumer. Now Broadway probably had nothing to do with either the last crash or the coming one, but like Waters Chuckie’s have been in on a lot of clean up for large NY donors after they have been destructive. I think we will see a lot of the usual subjects pulling out safety mats in the coming year or so.

    2. OwlishSprite

      “The g̶o̶v̶e̶r̶n̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶i̶s̶ Democrats are not bailing out anything…they’re going to be held accountable”

      Yes, this is going to cost you bigtime, VC boys. The wiring info is….

    3. notabanker

      Gee, I wonder who SVB sold all those securities to that caused the loss that led to Goldman sponsoring a failed capital raise that led to a complete collapse? Surely they would not have shorted SVB knowing Goldman was underwriting a capital raise for such an important client?

    4. clarky90

      Etymology…….. “The expression, “the shit hits the fan” is related to, and may well derive from, an old joke….?

      “A man in a crowded bar needed to defecate but couldn’t find a bathroom, so he went upstairs and used a hole in the floor. Returning, he found everyone had gone except the bartender, who was cowering behind the bar. When the man asked what had happened, the bartender replied, ‘Where were you when the shit hit the fan?'”

      1. griffen

        I’ve seen all manner of anecdotes but that is a new one. Thank you for sharing the anecdote ( as opposed to that stuff hitting the fan ). I prefer keeping it sorta clean for the family blogs, so writing about the fit hitting the shan works as well.

        Or the short hand version when time is pressed, such as FFS.

  2. Randall Flagg

    A brunch that got out of hand eh? It happens to the best of em.
    Well,It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere… Good times.

  3. OwlishSprite

    Well, maybe Biden could debate himself. “I thought Biden would be here.”

    Thanks! Laughed out loud again.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Where it said ‘The Democratic National Committee has indicated that the party doesn’t plan to hold primary debates.’ I thought that bizarre. OK, they are constituted so that they only have to listen to themselves and Democrat voters do not even get a look-in but this would do nothing except throw some red meat to the Republicans and let them depict themselves as the party still practicing democracy. Well, at least their version that is.

  4. Pat

    CRE, despite all the focus on allowing cryptocurrency, Signature was big in real estate. It will not surprise me if it comes out that was who caused their run.

  5. skk

    RE: “Once there were a thousand or more drinking fountains in London, and many more around the country, built from the 1860s onwards to provide clean piped water …”

    Gosh that reminded me, AND made me all nostalgic, of the Maharajah’s Well, in the Chiltern Hills near Henley. We used to stop there often after a Sunday visit to a countryside pub.

    …the Maharajah’s Well in Stoke Row, England provided both beauty and a much needed public water source to this historic English village.

    …During the mid-19th century an English squire by the name of Edward Anderdon Reade travelled to the Indian city of Benares (now Varanasi) and helped the Maharajah dig a much needed well to provide water to the local population…. The two men got along well and when Reade returned to England in 1860 it was with the final wish that the Maharajah keep the well open to the public. A few years later, when the Maharajah decided to provide an endowment to England in gratitude for their help, he remembered Reade and the sad tales he told of his own water-poor home area. And indeed, at that time the population near Stoke’s Row needed to make trips several miles out of town each time they needed to replenish their water supply.

    Thus in 1863 the Maharajah had a well dug nearly 400 feet into the earth, providing a public water source for the whole area. Covering the well an Indian-styled gazebo complete with large golden elephant was built making the well stand out in the surrounding English village.


    My, its over 30 years since I last saw it. I was sceptical then about the story – I still am I guess – it has the reasonableness of a C.A.N.O.E. invention with a touch of exoticness.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is a fascinating story of the Maharajah’s Well. Come to think of it, I have seen these public fountains in little French villages but never thought about the significance of them much less the British ones. I guess that they were a public good so of course had to be neglected and shut down. Can’t let the plebs know that things were ever different in earlier times.

      1. JBird4049

        I think that it is more that money can’t be extracted from the poor if you just give away the water. Isn’t that Communist or something? :-)

        I have noticed that in Blue California that any water fountain anywhere that dares to have ever a few of the homeless use it stops being maintained and quickly falls into uselessness. Of course, everyone else from the tourists or the native walking about also lose their drinking water, which does not seem to matter to the local government; I have gotten mighty thirsty at times while walking.

        1. ambrit

          Slacker! We are all supposed to help keep the “Economy”(TM) robust by buying water in plastic bottles! If the Good Lord had wanted us to have free water, (what a Communist idea!) He, She, or It would have had said water gush on out of the ground! [Oh, wait just a minute….] /s

    1. johnherbiehancock

      l think it’s kind of a meaningless distinction, possibly intended to mask the fact that people who need constant contact or gossip with other people may very have actual behavioral disorders, or at the very least poor interpersonal boundaries and trouble maintaining them.

      I see people describe themselves as “extroverted introvert” or “outgoing introvert” and I get annoyed.

      Like… I’m pretty bookish, but also outgoing, especially when I have couple drinks. I also need my space and don’t like to overshare, or spend what little free time I have to read & think & write hearing about the mundane daily crap everyone does… so people consider me an “introvert.”

      But Humans are social animals… we’re ALL extroverts. We just don’t all agree on how much we should share, or how to respect eachother’s personal boundaries…

      1. OwlishSprite

        I agree. The thing I like about Introvert Problems on Twitter is they talk about stresses around things other people don’t think about, like thinking about answering the phone, not anwering the phone, recovering after actually answering the phone, actually being relieved when plans get canceled, etc. which sounds stupid to everyone who does not have to prepare themselves for contact with others. I relate to most of the things there, and don’t think of them as pathologies. I am ‘on the spectrum’ as I have been told, but that is pretty meaningless to me. I am just pretty concerned about the quality of my interactions more than quantity. Cheers!

      2. Yves Smith

        Sorry, as someone who is introverted, I disagree.

        After a day at work with people (and remember as a young person at big firms I was doing mainly things you’d do solo, like performing/completing analyses and other documents to present to clients), I needed to be alone in the evening to recover. I would kill myself if I had to spend most of the work day in meetings.

        1. skippy

          Did Japan leave a scar – ???? … ex Clarion Inc L.A. sort … 3 am photo copy sessions with HQ and watching attaches from the home nation devolve over a two year stint so they could inform their betters how the western mind functioned without vulgarity of being directly exposed too it …

          Still remember the crying when their time was up …

      3. JBird4049

        Hmm, I am one of those people for whom a little contact goes quite far and while I can certainly enjoy a full week of socializing either through work or play, by the weekend, I need to disconnect from any contact or else. Quite unlike my brother who is a serious people person and who just doesn’t get my introvertness.

        People are just different.

      4. eg

        There’s no doubt that there’s a sliding scale for these things. I consider myself to be a situational extrovert — given the right group of people and circumstances I can enjoy socializing for a while. But most of the time I am quite content to remain alone among my books. And there are also times I go out of my way to avoid people altogether.

        1. Irrational

          Re. introverts: I think introversion vs extroversion is about your preferred way of connecting. For instance, I – a definite introvert – can be extrovert, but it tires me out and I need my quiet space afterwards. Retreating to an open plan office doesn’t do the trick – I find it stressful – and like Yves I detest meetings, but being aware of this, I can muster the energy to make my points and I can even lead meetings.
          But doing the Myers Briggs test (which is still widely used despite criticism over the years) and analyzing the results normally focuses on how the test-taker behaves. After taking a million Myers-Briggs tests (OK, slight exaggeration!), my most interesting insights were on a management course for future managers which looked at what the different dimensions mean for how you deal with OTHER people – for example, you may need to prompt the introverts to reveal their opinion in a meeting. While I agree a lot of these personality tests are dubious, I don’t think there is any harm in passing the message that we are all different, we all have different needs and we should try to put ourselves in the other person’s shoe and consider what they might need.
          (Would be useful in the international megaphone “diplomacy” circus, too.)

  6. skippy

    Ref Lars Syll –

    Here again is an example of what popped out of the other side when Newtonian Maths became popular fashion in neoclassical economics of the late 1800s, synergies with other schools developed, and emboldened some to call it a Royal Science and above refute. The worst part is when elites go catalog shopping and buy[tm] the one that resonates with them the most – funny how that works … and not something new IMO …

    ‘coherent’ or ‘consistent’ in maths as a model reducing reality to numerical symbology would seem to violate everything known about human psychology e.g. rational by model standard and the next a psychotic episode which can go from micro to macro in an eye blink these days due to digital platforms. Not that analog War of the Worlds sent more than a few around the twist.

    Which then begs the question about behavioral economics being a post model marketing/fine tuning dept.

    The late 1800s has a lot to answer for and those that thought economics was a dept store catalog and buy the one that resonates with them the most – funny how that works … and not something new IMO …

    Then again in the 90s my business partner and myself, when cell/mobile phones phones were available to the business classes, me and him used to shout …. Buy … Sell … repeat … in our vehicle at traffic stops, whilst they were agitated on the phone to someone else when driving to work early in the morning …

  7. DGL

    “Wowsers” – a word I use myself is of Australian origin. The Australian writer C. J. Dennis defined it thus: ‘Wowser: an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder’.


    I have always used it as an emphasized “Wow!”

    Because of the Ukraine situation and being in disbelief of USA foreign policy my whole life – back to the times of the wars of independence, I recently re-read Nevil Shute’s ‘On the Beach.’ I appreciated the book much more today in my dotage. I also appreciate nuclear war more in later years.

    Then I re-read ‘A Town Like Alice.’ Also appreciated more because since I last read it I traveled many of the places described in the book. Shute wrote the book shortly after he emigrated from England to Australia. He used a lot of Australian slang and I looked them up. He used ‘Wowsers’ to describe pious and stick in the mud people.

    I thought it was illuminating and interesting.

    I will still use ‘Wowsers’ as an emphasized expression of ‘Wow!’

    Also the ‘fog’ described in Sherlock Holmes was air pollution.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “being in disbelief of USA foreign policy my whole life”

      The crazy keeps edging higher. This afternoon, General Jack Keane of Fox News and the Institute for the Study of War expressed considerable frustration about the downing of the drone by the Russians. He fumed that American warships didn’t fill the Black Sea (why should some silly old convention be honored?) and urged the Air Force to accompany future drone flights with fighter jets. Now that’s a “WOW!” for me. And when you consider that one of his employers is a Kagan outfit and home base for our current Under Secretary of State, then we’ve moved past “Wow” into digging a bomb shelter.

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        I would have thought that that’s not a thing that’s even physically possible for the Air Force to do – without in-air refueling a fighter jet only has a couple of hours endurance – how would it escort a drone that spends hours in transit and then hours more on station gathering information. Shake it off US neocons – you’re showing a weird psychological fragility when you hyperventilate in public over these kind of minor affronts to American greatness.

  8. Art_DogCT

    JL’s lovely flower is an Iris from the subgenus Limniris, within which are two Sections. Section Limniris includes 19 ‘series’, grouping species and subspecies. This subgenus includes all the Siberian, Japanese, Flag, Louisiana, and Pacific Coast irises, and many more not usually encountered in horticulture. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular iris; I think I’d remember those remarkable, beautiful incurved standards. There are enough similarities between plants within the various series and species I’m unable to attempt to key out which the subject plant might be based on what’s visible in the photo. I have had the occasional Japanese Iris modestly rebloom late in the season, particularly if the spring flowers were promptly deadheaded. IIRC, Yellow Flag and Blue Flag irises (both in the same series as Japanese iris) also flower intermittently through late summer.

    If you geek out on taxonomy and/or Iris, please see the rabbit hole gateway here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_subg._Limniris

    1. Luckless Pedestrian

      I’m in SF North Bay and the bearded iris love it here. While they mostly appear to propagate via the rhizomes branching (and me digging them up to plant elsewhere) I’m told by gardeners with much more game than I have they will pollinate easily between varieties. There are probably lots and lots of unusual rarely seen hybrids.

      A few Pacific Coast irises in the yard, but they tend to have short flowers within the leaf/frond bunches here.

      Lovely antidote photo – but my first thought was “not sure that’s a lily.”

      1. JL

        Apologies – that is indeed an Iris ! FWIW this is in Hawai’i. My best guess is Neomarica caerulea.

        1. Art_DogCT

          Thanks so much, JL! This old dog learned a new thing today.

          And to Luckless Pedestrian, Iris hybridize pretty freely within the subgenera. AFIK, rhizomatous iris can’t cross with bulbous iris. I’m less certain whether the bearded and non-bearded subgenera of rhizomatous iris can cross.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    Harris traveling to Iowa is a good reminder of why Iowa and New Hampshire had to be moved back into the pack. Harris will never do well in Iowa, the audiences are way too critical, hate bafflegab and quietly ridicule the inept and/or inarticulate. Likewise bad states for Biden (in the shape he’s in) so IA/NH got the axe. Maybe.

    I still think both states should just do as they please and then let the DNC challenge their delegates at the national convention. That’s as old school as organized politics gets. And once you break from the DNC-inflicted rules, I’m guessing all the app and crappification problems will go away.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I agree that’s the best move, which is why it’ll never happen. The Iowa Democrat Party is nothing but an empty shell that represents no one, has no real members and no political power. No one takes seriously a “party” that can’t win elections.

      They’ll make the butt of a great joke though.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Don’t suppose that she might make a side trip to Ohio. Help the Democrats put in some sort of appearance. Then again, haven’t the people there suffered enough?

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Roxanne Conlin ran for Governor as a Democrat in Iowa four years after “Roxanne” charted for The Police. I dubbed a copy onto cassette for her to listen to, luckily was not in the room when it was played.

      But the song I remember from that campaign was Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.” Had nothing to do with anything but half the staff was humming it.

  10. jsn

    I heard something about Turner’s colors being influenced by industrial smog back in the late 80s.

    I believe it was from my father who was an avid reader of Alexander Cockburn when the latter was the culture writer for the WSJ.

    IIRC it was when the new Turner Galleries opened at the Tate.

    1. OwlishSprite

      I am starting to wonder if AI generates his tweets now. There are certainly enough decades of Burma-Shave-type bromides to work from.

    2. ambrit

      I hesitate to say it, but Bernie seems to have perfected the Democrat Party tactic of “Always fighting for Something,” but never winning.
      I like the man, but I don’t really trust him any more.

    3. Yves Smith

      Please stop with the wounded lover nonsense. All Sanders has is six staffers and a bully pulpit. He is an independent and thus cannot throw his weigh around in either party.

  11. Don

    “Beginning in 2013, the rate of college enrollment among Korean women surpassed those of men; today, nearly three-fourths of women are enrolled in higher education, compared with less than two-thirds of men.”

    Not knowing the percentage of population breakdown by gender in Korea, it’s a little tricky to convert this to the percentage of enrolled students who are women vs. the percentage who are men, but say — ±12%?

    In Canada, in 2021, it was women, 56%, men 44% — so, a 12% difference.


  12. jsn

    Hesse’s universe for “The Glass Bead Game” is more or less the one in Stephenson used for “Anathema”.

    Both worth the read for very different reasons IMHO.

    1. Tom B.

      Had never made that connection, wow!
      Well worth a re-read for both. Thanks.
      I think glass bead game was also titled Magister Ludi…

  13. Tim

    With regards to CRE. The consolidation of office space by lessors is still ongoing, so the full brunt of the pandemics remote work impacts are not yet felt by CRE. It’s bad to have increased funding costs at the same time a lessor breaks their lease.

  14. LilD

    Can’t decide if
    Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire) or
    We will all go together when we go (Tom Lehrer) or
    Political Science (Randy Newman) are top of my doomsday playlist…

    1. JBird4049

      Since it’s Russia and the United States, today, I think 99 Luftballoons is a better fit. Such a song from high school that is still relevant. Nobody was certain that the next day would not be radioactive. Then the Cold War ended. Wasn’t that a relief.

      Now the fools have brought back that old time feeelling of doom, doom, doom.

      F@@@ me.

        1. JBird4049

          Good song, but really creepy. I was getting a headache from the high pitch guitar(?) wailing, but it matched up well with the lyrics.

  15. ashley

    monet’s color palette is influenced by the fact that he likely was able to see somewhat in the ultraviolet spectrum beyond what normal human eyes can see.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > monet’s color palette

      The Vision of Claude Monet Zeiss:

      Who would ever have thought that this outstanding artist had serious problems with his vision? The truth is he suffered from nearsightedness and distressing changes in his perception of color due to cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding and/or yellowing of the clear lens of the eye. Cataracts can be caused by age but there is data to suggest that UV light exposure may be a factor . Monet an outdoor painter, suffered from severe yellowing in his lenses in his later years. In 1922 Monet’s ophthalmologist, Charles Coutela recorded a visual acuity of PL (light perception only) in Monet’s right eye and a 6/60 on his left eye and recommended he undergo cataract surgery. In 1923, Monet had the lens of his right eye removed. The lens of the eye focuses light, with the removal of the yellowed cataract lens, Monet’s perception of light in his right eye was altered and this is reflected in later works. Afterwards, Monet sought assistance from ophthalmologist Jacques Mawas who dispensed a pair of glass lenses… With the new lenses Monet was finally able to see what his paintings really looked like – and he was disappointed by the dull colors he now perceived. He immediately started painting over many of his completed pictures with brighter colors – even his marvelous water lily paintings, whose freshness and clarity still enchant us to this very day.

      Marketing from Zeiss, but my Zeiss lenses are great (take that, cellphones).

      1. Irrational

        I knew about Monet’s cataracts, but not that he had been operated. You inspired me to research a little and it seems that cataract operations were performed from around 1750. However, artificial lenses, which would have alleviated all that Monet was complaining about post-op, were introduced around 1950. Fascinating!
        Was myself born with congenital cataracts and operated at the age of 23 (today recommendation is to operate as early as possible). The colors and the crispness of the flowers that summer were amazing.
        P.S. Don’t know if the lenses are Zeiss, so no marketing ;-)

  16. Tom Doak

    Re: the safe classroom, the son of a friend of mine is a freshman at Michigan State, so he was on campus a month ago for the shootings there. His parents freaked out, but his reaction was “It’s fine, we’ve been doing those lockdown drills since I was a little kid.” My own kids were just old enough to miss out on that training, so I never really thought about how inured this generation is to the modern world.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So early generations had nuclear drills while the present ones have lockdown drills. Michael Moore noticed a trend of general fear in adult Americans which he nicknamed the United States of Boo so perhaps seventy years of telling and teaching kids to be afraid did have an effect after all.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

    William Lloyd Garrison was certainly a man of his time and certainly let his voice be known but there is the thing. That he was a man of his time. Supposing, just supposing, that he was reincarnated as a man of our own times. To what extent would his voice be heard now? Probably he would have been cancelled through past anti-semitic statements, he would have had his Facebook account permanently blocked, his Twitter account would be suspended now and again with only vague justifications and it may be that he would be only be able to publish his works overseas as no US publisher would touch them. He might even have to get a Substack account to let his voice be heard.


  18. Mikel

    “Introducing: The Covid Underground” [Covid Underground]. The deck: “Welcome to The Covid Underground, a newsletter for the Covid-free movement and all of those who continue to avoid infection.”

    This could be an important control group for investigating what Covid does and does not do to the body.

  19. some guy

    If the DNC doesn’t plan to hold “primary debates”, then the League of Women Voters could hold them. If the League of Women Voters does not yet have a Facebook Page, a Twitter Spot, and a You Tube channel, and maybe other things; it could still set up all three at least, and maybe more.

    And then it could offer to host a good old-fashioned League of Women Voters Debate on a Stage and Everything, and record it for narrowcasting on all its parallel venues. Maybe even live-cast it as it happens.
    Maybe even see if CSPAN would be interested in live-running it or taping it for running later.

    Williamson and Kucinich and Gabbard and all the other cone-of-silenced “challengers” could show up to it. Eventually the Good Ship MSM will be so filled with rat manure and stench decent passengers will hide in the lifeboats just to get away from it. Perhaps there will be a New Dawn of League of Women Voters debates.

  20. LilD

    Tough days in Monterey County
    Power has been mostly out since last Thursday
    We have a Powerwall and are blissfully minimally affected
    Internet has mostly been out and we have no cell coverage. I suppose I should have had a landline but it is not bad to be isolated.
    I own books! I like to read!
    Dry today but another storm or two are in the pipeline
    Ground is pretty saturated so the 40-65mph winds took down quite a few trees. Maybe back to normal next month
    Disasters are usually somewhere else, aren’t they?

  21. Late Introvert

    re: how often to change filters in the Corsi-Rosenthal boxes

    I have been meaning to ask that question here, and as far as I can tell that thread doesn’t answer the question, only suggesting to use a mesh to make filters last longer.

    I haven’t changed ours after 2+ years. Unlike our furnace which has three input ducts, there’s a lot less volume of space to filter, it only runs 3-4 hours a day, and it’s a small house. I have vacuumed the filters, but I’m sure it’s getting time to change them.

  22. VietnamVet

    Viruses infect all domains of life. Suggesting they originated very early in evolution.

    Humans must classify things to try to figure out how they work.

    RNA viruses once they get inside the cell take over cellular mechanism to make their own proteins and prepare copies of their genes encased in its protective shell and trigger reactions in the infected in order to be released into the outside environment to infect new hosts. They are parasites just like bacteria (TB), micro-organisms (Malaria), tape worms, or cow birds. They depend on defeating the defensive measures and taking over the cells but not killing all of the hosts since that would eliminate the viruses too.

    Proven public health systems were developed to combat pandemics that depend on non-pharmaceutical interventions including quarantines, contact tracing, and eliminating transmission. They worked in China, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. Except in the USA and Europe, the system was hijacked by NGOs and mRNA gene therapy was used, instead, in order for pharmaceutical corporations to make more money. The South African Omicron variant is so infectious it overwhelmed the world and is now endemic. Functional Public Health systems are no more. Each individual is now on their own to try to avoid infection.

    The coronavirus pandemic is weird. It appears that it is due to human beings knowing too much for their own good. Indeed, if a western NGO double billed the US NIH to do gain of function studies in Wuhan Institute of Virology to develop patent-able gene therapies and was released into the environment by mistake, then the pandemic is self-inflicted. Just as the Benghazi Libya Rat Line that supplied weapons to ISIS in Syria was never investigated, or who exploded the Nord Stream pipelines, the House GOP will have to cover this up too. All trust in government is being lost as the ongoing proxy WWIII in Ukraine keeps escalating plus the 2023 Financial Crisis was triggered last weekend by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

    1. eg

      Viewed from a dispassionate non-species-centric perspective, viruses are probably a feature of life on Earth as a whole, not a bug — a way for randomized interspecies genetic transfer/mixture

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