2:00PM Water Cooler 5/29/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Eastern Phoebe, Berkeley, West Virginia, United States.”Temperature 8C. Habitat: mixed deciduous woods. Distance to sound source: 12-16 meters. Behavior and other notes: Male Eastern Phoebe singing from high perch near the house at dawn. Elevation 156 meters. ID’d by sight and sound; ID confidence 100%.”

* * *

In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Judge Merchan instructs the jury and deliberations begin.

(2) The worst jobs at Disney.

(3) Covid and immune dysregulation.

(4) The world’s oldest living being is a tree.

* * *


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

* * *


Less than a half a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, May 24:

Not a good week for Team Trump, with most of the Swing States (more here) Brownian-motioning themselves toward Biden. Not, however, Michigan, to which Trump paid a visit, nor crucial Pennsylvania. Of course, it goes without saying that these are all state polls, therefore bad, and most of the results are within the margin of error. Now, if either candidate starts breaking away in points, instead of tenths of a point…. NOTE I changed the notation: Up and down arrows for increases or decreases over last week, circles for no change. Red = Trump. Blue would be Biden if he were leading anywhere, but he isn’t.

* * *

Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “Trump hush-money-trial jury gets its charges from judge and begins deliberations” [Associated Press]. ” Jury deliberations in Donald Trump ‘s criminal hush money trial began Wednesday after the panel received instructions from the judge on the law governing the case and what they can take into account in evaluating the former president’s guilt or innocence…. After jurors left the courtroom to begin deliberations, Judge Juan M. Merchan told Donald Trump and his lawyers that they were required to remain in the courthouse. ‘You cannot leave the building. We need you to be able to get here quickly if we do receive a note,’ Merchan said.”

Lambert here: There’s much too much to cover in detail so, very unfairly, I won’t be able to look at the Prosecutions four hour summation at all. In a doomed effort at taking control, I’ll lookd at Judge Merchan’s instructions to the jury (they ran from 10:16am to 11:28am) on the following issues: Business records falsification, and FECA, election interference, with reporting taken from four live blogs: Associated Press, Lawfare, Jonathan Turley, and Inner City Press; my thought was to pick four sources to create a sort of quatro-nocular vision of facts and interpretation, but they are all in one way or another radically truncated! (There are many more issues — like Cohen as an accomplice, accessorial liability, and “limiting instructions” — but these are the issues that seem salient to me. Legal practitioners are free to suggest different topics and approaches!)

Election interference

Associated Press

Merchan went over New York’s law against “conspiracy to promote or prevent election,” a statute that’s important to the case. That’s because prosecutors claim that Trump falsified business records in order to cover up alleged violations of the election conspiracy law. The alleged violations, prosecutors say, were hush money payments that really amounted to illegal campaign contributions.

Under New York law, it’s a misdemeanor for two or more people to conspire to promote or prevent a candidate’s election “by unlawful means” if at least one of the conspirators takes action to carry out the plot.

The law also requires that a defendant have the intent unlawfully to prevent or promote the candidate’s election — not just that a defendant knows about the conspiracy or be present when it’s discussed.

In the defense’s closing argument Tuesday, Trump attorney Todd Blanche urged jurors to reject prosecutors’ election conspiracy assertions, insisting that “every campaign in this country is a conspiracy to promote a candidate.”

This is the only aspect of Merchan’s instructions that AP covers in detail (!).

Jonathan Turley

Theory of the case


Jonathan Turley

Inner City Press

Nothing from Inner City Press on the other topics.



Note [1]. Read footnote 9, in the red box, carefully. Surely the Biden Administration/Campaign’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story right before election 2020 would qualify. So would the 2016 Clinton campaign’s funding, IIRC through Democrat election integrity lawyer Marc Elias, the Steele Report (subsequently used to support the false filing to the FISA court that enabled the organs of state security to ingest the Trump campaign. Yet those offenses were never charged. Odd.

Lambert here: Holy moley, the art of live blogging is dead. Everyone present in the court picks out a few aspects of the case (though Lawfare has gotten a copy of the proposed instructions; no doubt their flex-net was examining them carefully). I suspect, however, that this is a result not of technical incompetence but the scope, complexity, and deviousness of the prosecutions case (which, again, took four hours to explain). Presumably, at some point in the near future, I can pull on my yellow waders and make more sense of all this [lambert hangs head in shame].

* * *

Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “The Cat Is Out of the Bragg” [Andrew McCarthy, National Review]. On Bragg’s FECA material: “It is impossible to draw any conclusion other than that Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg knew that, as a state prosecutor, his enforcement of federal law would be incredibly controversial since he has no such authority; the federal agencies that do have such authority investigated Trump and opted not to prosecute; and to get this prosecution done, Bragg is simply making up his own version of federal law. Bragg had the collusion of Judge Merchan, who allowed the state to get away with not putting the “other crime” in the indictment, and rejected defense attempts to force him to provide explicit disclosure pretrial. Prosecutors hid in the tall grass until summation and are now emphatically describing Trump as having blatantly violated federal campaign law.” • Quite right. Prosecution sandbagging the defense has been one thing that has made this case so confusing (and by design, I am sure. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that clarification comes from the bench, not the prosecution; it’s almost as if they’re working together).

Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan): “Was D.A. Bragg Right to Bring the New York Charges Against Trump?” [Lawfare]. “Weighing this evidence in the context of the many civil frauds Trump has been adjudicated to have committed, and the many crimes of which his closely held corporation and most essential business colleagues, Weisselberg and Michael Cohen, have been convicted, I have been persuaded. District Attorney Bragg was right to bring this case.” • “A” case, perhaps. But this case? Bragg has opened the door to bring criminal charges for fraud against practitioners of ordinary campaign tactics!

Trump (R) (Bragg/Merchan: “Elise Stefanik Demands Investigation into Assignment of Judge Merchan to Trump Case” [National Review]. Besides the ethical violation of Merchan’s family potentially profiting from the case, given that his daughter is a Democrat consulant, Stefanik makes this point: “‘If justices were indeed being randomly assigned in the Criminal Term, the probability of two specific criminal cases being assigned to the same justice is quite low, and the probability of three specific criminal cases being assigned to the same justice is infinitesimally small. And yet, we see Acting Justice Merchan on all three cases,’ the complaint reads. ‘The simple answer to why Acting Justice Merchan has been assigned to these cases would seem to be that whoever made the assignment intentionally selected Acting Justice Merchan to handle them to increase the chance that Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, and Steven Bannon would ultimately be convicted,’ the complaint adds.” • Hmm.


“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

* * *

Covid Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); 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 (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Airborne Transmission

“Yes, but China can’t innovate”:

The use case:


“The Risk of Aircraft-Acquired SARS-CoV-2 Transmission during Commercial Flights: A Systematic Review” [International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health]. PRISMA-based systematic review. N = 50. From the Discussion: “flight duration strongly predicts case incidence. We also found that when masking is unenforced, each additional hour of flight duration is associated with 1.53-fold increase in the transmission incidence rate ratio. We speculate that short flights may be safer due to a shorter total duration of exposure to aerosol particles. Also, short flights often do not serve meals, so fewer aerosol particles and droplets are expelled. Interestingly, our findings also suggest that aircraft-acquired transmission is not inevitable if masking is strictly enforced. On long haul-type flights where enforced masking took place and meals were served, there were no reported aircraft-acquired cases during contact tracing and follow-up. Enforced masking may have encouraged passengers to eat as quickly as possible on these long flights. Furthermore, airline staff can actually enforce masking, similar to how staff are able to enforce safety checks such as correct table-up and seat up-and-back positions by walking down the aisles, checking each seat, and correcting behaviors during take-off and landing…. Beyond our formal analysis, we observed as a point of interest that the proximity to the index case(s) was not the best predictor of aircraft-acquired transmission [i.e., droplet dogma is a crock, if further evidence were needed]. For example, on a 2 h flight, one passenger seated five rows away acquired COVID; on a 5 h flight, a passenger seated six rows away acquired COVID; and on a 7.5 h flight and a 10 h flight, four passengers and one passenger who sat greater than 2 m (6 ft) away acquired COVID, respectively…. Flight policies regarding masking based on travel duration may become important for air travel safety in future epidemics or pandemics, particularly before effective vaccines or medications are made available.” • But what about my freedom to infect innocents by breathing a pathogen into shared air?

Immune Dysregulation

Diverse immunological dysregulation, chronic inflammation, and impaired erythropoiesis in long COVID patients with chronic fatigue syndrome” [Journal of Autoimmunity]. From the Abstract: “A substantial number of patients recovering from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection present serious lingering symptoms, often referred to as long COVID (LC). However, a subset of these patients exhibits the most debilitating symptoms characterized by ongoing myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). We specifically identified and studied ME/CFS patients from two independent LC cohorts, at least 12 months post the onset of acute disease, and compared them to the recovered group (R). ME/CFS patients had relatively increased neutrophils and monocytes but reduced lymphocytes. Selective T cell exhaustion with reduced naïve but increased terminal effector T cells was observed in these patients…. Intriguingly, we found that the frequency of 2B4+CD160+ and TIM3+CD160+ CD8+ T cells completely separated LC patients from the [Recovered (R)] group.” • Hat tip, Anthony J. Leonardi?

“Gene Regulatory Network Analysis of Post-Mortem Lungs Unveils Novel Insights into COVID-19 Pathogenesis” [Viruses]. From the Discussion: “Taken together, our findings highlight the crucial role of immune dysregulation in the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 infection in lungs and provide valuable insights into potential therapeutic targets for mitigating the deleterious effects of COVID-19.” • Hat tip, Anthony J. Leonardi!

Variants: H5N1

“Technical Update: Summary Analysis of the Genetic Sequence of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus Identified in a Human in Michigan” [CDC]. From May 24: “The genome of the human virus from Michigan did not have the PB2 E627K change detected in the virus from the Texas case, but had one notable change (PB2 M631L) compared to the Texas case that is known to be associated with viral adaptation to mammalian hosts, and which has been detected in 99% of dairy cow sequences but only sporadically in birds. This change has been identified as resulting in enhancement of virus replication and disease severity in mice during studies with avian influenza A(H10N7) viruses. The remainder of the genome of A/Michigan/90/2024 was closely related to sequences detected in infected dairy cows and strongly suggests direct cow-to-human transmission. Further, there are no markers known to be associated with influenza antiviral resistance found in the virus sequences from the Michigan specimen and the virus is very closely related to two existing HPAI A(H5N1) candidate vaccine viruses that are already available to manufacturers, and which could be used to make vaccine if needed. Overall, the genetic analysis of the HPAI A(H5N1) virus detected in a human in Michigan supports CDC’s conclusion that the human health risk currently remains low.” • Commentary:


“Severe Avian Influenza A H5N1 Clade Virus Infection in a Human with Continuation of SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNAs” [Transboundary and Emerging Diseases]. Case report from China. From the Discussion: “We report a human case infection with the clade avian influenza A H5N1 virus. This patient was an old female farmer with multiple comorbidities. The patient was also SARS-CoV-2 positive after having COVID-19 on December 20, 2022. Our study provides insights into the significance of surveillance for increased risk of H5N1 viruses infection among people with post-COVID-19 condition…. Prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 might lead to the patient in a non-full competent immune state, which might play a role in increasing her susceptibility to avian influenza virus…. In the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, sporadic human cases with avian influenza A H5N1 virus are possible to occur, especially among the population who professional or occasional contact with birds or poultry. Active surveillance of individuals following a high-risk exposure to the virus without any PPE protection is strongly recommended.” • Sounds the dairy farms should be doing some testing…..

Sequelae: Covid

“Neurodevelopmental delay in children exposed to maternal SARS-CoV-2 in-utero” [Nature]. From the Abstract: “Children exposed to antenatal COVID-19 have a tenfold higher frequency of [Developmental delay (DD)] as compared to controls and should be offered neurodevelopmental follow-up.” • I’m sure the pro-natalists will get right on this.

Elite Maleficence

Who said prevention is better than cure?

I don’t know if this was “the” “plan.” It certainly was a happy outcome, and a ripe opportunity for rental extraction (see Moderna moving in on drugs for Long Covid).

* * *

Lambert here: Patient readers, I’m going to have to rethink this beautifully formatted table. Biobot data is gone, CDC variant data functions, ER visits are dead, CDC stopped mandatory hospital data collection, New York Times death data has stopped. (Note that the two metrics the hospital-centric CDC cared about, hospitalization and deaths, have both gone dark). Ideally I would replace hospitalization and death data, but I’m not sure how. I might also expand the wastewater section to include (yech) Verily data, H5N1 if I can get it. Suggestions and sources welcome. UPDATE I replaced the Times death data with CDC data. Amusingly, the URL doesn’t include parameters to construct the tables; one must reconstruct then manually each time. Caltrops abound.

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts


❌ National[1] Biobot May 13: ❌ Regional[2] Biobot May 13:
Variants[3] CDC May 25 Emergency Room Visits[4] ❌ CDC March 23
New York[5] New York State, data May 28: ❌ National [6] CDC May 11:
National[7] Walgreens May 28: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic May 18:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC May 6: Variants[10] CDC May 6:
Weekly Deaths vs. % Positivity [11]CDC May 18: Weekly Deaths vs. ED Visits [12]CDC May 18:


1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”


[1] (Biobot) Dead.

[2] (Biobot) Dead.

[3] (CDC Variants) FWIW, given that the model completely missed KP.2.

[4] (ER) CDC seems to have killed this off, since the link is broken, I think in favor of this thing. I will try to confirm. UPDATE Yes, leave it to CDC to kill a page, and then announce it was archived a day later. And heaven forfend CDC should explain where to go to get equivalent data, if any. I liked the ER data, because it seemed really hard to game.

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Still going up, though fortunately no sign of geometric increase. he New York city area has form; in 2020, as the home of two international airports (JFK and EWR) it was an important entry point for the virus into the country (and from thence up the Hudson River valley, as the rich sought to escape, and around the country through air travel)

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC).

[7] (Walgreens) Going up.

[8] (Cleveland) Going up.

[9] (Travelers: Positivity) Up and down.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) KP.2 enters the chat, as does B.1.1.529 (with backward revision).

[11] Deaths low, but positivity up.

[12] Deaths low, ED not up.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The composite manufacturing index in the US Fifth District increased to 0 in May 2024, the highest in seven months, from -7 in April, and compared to forecasts of -2.”

* * *

Tech: “Ex-OpenAI board member reveals what led to Sam Altman’s brief ousting” [Business Insider]. “In an interview with Bilawal Sidhu on ‘The TED AI Show‘ that aired Tuesday, Toner said Altman lied to the board ‘multiple’ times. One example Toner cited was that OpenAI’s board learned about the release of ChatGPT on Twitter. She said Altman was ‘withholding information’ and ‘misrepresenting things that were happening in the company’ for years. Toner — one of the board members who voted to kick Altman out — alleged that Altman also lied to the board by keeping them in the dark about the company’s ownership structure. ‘Sam didn’t inform the board that he owned the OpenAI startup fund, even though he constantly was claiming to be an independent board member with no financial interest in the company,’ she said.” • You say “lied” like that’s a bad thing.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 28 at 12:33:39 PM ET.

Class Warfare

“Ranking the Best And Worst Jobs at Disney” [BBN Times]. “In a new study, Disney travel planning experts MagicGuides analyzed Glassdoor data by assigning each Disney job role a score out of 100 based on reviews from the site…. mechanics are the least satisfied with their jobs. Their jobs at Disney are often dangerous when fixing the rides, especially with rides like ‘it’s a small world’ where water is involved. Mechanics, on average, rated working with Disney as 3.76 out of five. Scoring just 23.79 out of 100, mechanics are the least happy on average working for Disney. Those working in Disney’s costume departments are the second least happy with their jobs. They have the lowest approval of the Disney CEO and how Disney is currently managed. The study revealed that on average working in the costume department scored 23.91 out of 100 for working at Disney. Scoring 28.67 out of 100, construction workers are the third least happy when working with Disney; they are the least likely to see themselves working with Disney for a long time. Interestingly, many of Disney’s guest-facing roles rank in the bottom half of the list, indicating that employees in these roles may strive to ensure that guests have a positive experience even if they themselves are not happy in their roles.” • Sounds about right; Disney is a smile Nazis paradise.

News of the Wired

“The oldest tree in the world: Meet ‘Methuselah,’ a literal hidden gem” [USA Today]. “According to Guinness World Records, the oldest tree species in the world are the bristlecone pines, found in the White Mountains in California. Their scientific name is ‘Pinus Longaeva.’ The world’s oldest living tree is ‘Methuselah.’ The tree’s exact age is unknown, but experts believe it has been alive for close to 5,000 years, the U.S. Forest Service told USA TODAY in an email. Dendrochronologist Edmund Schulman found and named the tree in 1957. This bristlecone pine is named after a biblical figure who legend says lived over 900 years. Before that, a geographer in 1964 cut down another ancient tree, dubbed ‘Prometheus,’ with permission from the Forest Service. It wasn’t until after the tree was cut down that they realized it was an estimated 4,900 years old. Bristlecone pines are known to scientists as ‘extremeophiles‘ because they are slow-growing and can endure harsh environmental conditions, including cold temperatures, high winds, dry soils and short growing seasons, according to the USDA. They also have adapted to use ‘sectored architecture,’ which means their roots only feed the part of the tree above them. When one root dies, only that section dies. The rest of the tree keeps growing around the skeletal parts, according to the National Park Service. … Yes, Methuselah is alive as of May 2024. According to National Geographic, scientists believe this is the planet’s oldest single living thing. It’s in the Inyo National Forest between the Sierra Nevada range in California and the Nevada border. The U.S. Forest Service keeps its exact location under wraps to protect the tree from damage or vandalism, the department confirmed to USA TODAY in an email.”

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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, lichen, 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 GS:

GS writes: “Part of the bromiliad collection, Flecker Gardens, Cairns QLD Australia.”

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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. Carolinian

    Re those bristlecones–supposedly a scientist drilled a hollow tap (to pull it out and count the rings) into one of them and killed it. Hope it helped his career at least.

    1. Glen

      This story is offered as an example of how times change.

      While in high school (mid 70’s), I took a class called Field Biology taught by a guy that had been camping/backpacking around the Sierra Nevada’s since at least the mid 1950’s. When talking about the bristle cone pines in the White Mountains as the oldest living trees, he related how he remembered a camping trip in the Whites as a kid where they had picked one particularity dead looking bristle cone and set it on fire as the camp fire that night. He admitted looking back on it, he was horrified at what they had done, but that doing things like that were not too uncommon back then.

    2. Bugs

      How very, very sad that they have to keep the location of the oldest living being in the world secret for fear of a human being attempting to hurt or kill it. Perhaps that tree would otherwise appreciate visits and the gentle touch of a friend.

    3. jsn

      I enjoyed finding Methuselah in “News of the Wired”

      Still wired after all those years.

      There’s caffeine in them thar hills!

    4. The Rev Kev

      About twenty years or so ago a stand of trees was discovered in a remote location here in Oz and it was realized that these type of trees were direct descendants of trees that had been around at the time of dinosaurs. It was an incredible find. The site was kept classified until, taking seeds from them, new trees could be grown that would flood the market. Why did they do that? So that no rich idiot would send people in to chop a coupla down to make exclusive furniture with or some such fool reason which might wipe out the rest of the surviving trees.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        theres a seasonal spring over yonder.
        next to a granite batholith/pluton/whatever.
        cracks in the big rock fill up with water when it rains, and release it slowly until its gone…hence the spring.
        there are what i recognise as baby bass like fish that inhabit that spring…but never get more than a couple of inches in length.
        do their whole life cycles in those intermittent pools.
        i’m certain they are an unknown species…or subspecies.
        but i wont mention it to the authorities…because 1. it aint my place(i discovered this chasing our cows, long ago, when we had cows(rolls eyes))
        2 dont want the spectacle…nor the problems that come with such a discovery…for my neighbors.
        better to just leave them be, i reckon…unless the development comes too close.
        then, i got a ace in the hole.
        to stymie it.

  2. ambrit

    I fear Dear Interlocutor that you will have to trade in your Yellow Waders for a full body deep sea diving suit, in the tasteful colour of your choice.
    The Lawfare is getting deep with this case.

    1. griffen

      Looking forward to the laptop from hell circa 2020 to be brandied about as a comparable “conspirator” attempt at election and campaign equivalent “frauds on the voting public”. And best get the heavy duty waders while we’re thinking about it!

      I’ll be watching paint dry a long while for if or even when that one gets some litigation. “It’s not his laptop, it’s Russian interference!”…Blinken and pals. Not a lawyer, nor doth my heart bleed for our Republican candidate for President. What a country!

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        its all merely entertainment, now….bad entertainment, but still.
        stinks of late, late roman empire.
        after they moved to turkieye(sp-2)
        it just gets stupider from here on out…gird yerselves.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Disney is a smile Nazis paradise

    Used to have to deal with them for work years ago. Being told to “Have a magical day!” every time I had to contact someone there really challenged my pacifist tendencies.

    Also, I would have thought wearing the rat suit in the drinkable Florida atmosphere would have been the #1 worst job.

    1. Pat

      In some ways the characters have it easy. Because of the suits and headpieces they can only be out in public for short periods of time, iirc 20 minutes on street 40 minutes off. But because they aren’t allowed to speak they have to used hand and foot signals for their handlers to let them know if they need something like they are being man handled.
      All of the uniforms are polyester, so every worker is walking around wearing plastic in that heat. And they only get a break every couple of hours. All of it is a pain.

    2. Wukchumni

      Disney was dealt about its only defeat in attempting to put in a ski resort in Mineral King in Sequoia NP.

      The Eagle Lake/Mosquito Lakes trailhead is actually owned by Disney, but they can’t develop it, and is easily the ugliest of public properties owned by them, a mixture of broken asphalt, dirt, and protuding rocks.

    3. Thistlebreath

      Way long ago, when chickens still had teeth (in the 1980’s), worked at a post facility w/some Disney producers. Tales from the Rat: When Maus Haus lawyers were sent in to negotiate a deal, unless both parties left the bargaining session with irreparable bad feelings, said Didney reps were told not to come back because they hadn’t pushed hard enough for favorable terms.

    4. Mikel

      Ranked #6 for worst: Executive Assistant.

      I don’t know if has changed, but that top heavy company was always advertising for executive assistants.

  4. none

    If Biden used hair dye, would he be teflon like Reagan despite their senility? It’s kind of hard for me to see much difference.

  5. Mikel

    “Covid and immune dysregulation”

    I don’t have time for “now there’s science to prove this.”
    For the longest the science was already DONE. If you’re getting sick over and over again, something is wrong with your immune system.
    Yes, Covid can cause it.
    But also…get into mRNA and immune dysregulation…

  6. flora

    re: oldest tree.

    Thanks for that, and thanks to the U.S. Forest Service for not providing pictures and exact location of the tree. The so-called “trophy hunters” of famous places, trees, objects in the news etc I can well imagine suddenly deciding said tree is something to capture, not only on camera or film but also, you know take a sprig from, take a few leaves/bristles from, take a small bark cutting from. Multiply by thousands and you have denuded and dying tree. What? You think that wouldn’t happen? Welcome to the real world, oh naif one. / ;)

    adding: estimating a tree’s age no longer requires cutting it down. Scientists know this now. The “trophy hunters” only care about their capture of a famous-thing trophy. See also the orchid hunters.

    1. flora

      an aside: there’s a famous sea cave in Acadia National Park in Maine.

      The sea cave is accessible to walkers briefly only at low tide and under the water at high tide. It’s called Sea Anemone Cave because the tide pools left in the cave at low tide contain a large variety of small, thumbnail size, beautiful sea anemones. Tiny, colorful, iridescent creatures.

      The cave was taken off the Park’s map years ago because some people, enough people, weren’t content to simple view the tiny beings but would pry one or two of them up from the tide pool to take home as a souvenir, I guess was their reasoning. / sheesh

    2. Wukchumni

      One of the oldest Giant Sequoia trees is in my backyard, the Arm Tree, in the Atwell grove.

      At least 3,000 years old, I’m not sure it would make it into the top 200, size-wise, as its more of a Yoda looking example, and requires about 3 hours of steep off-trail hiking to get to it.

      Flames came within a few hundred feet in the 2021 KNP Fire, but didn’t touch it, thankfully.

      A problem we are experiencing in the Giant Forest Grove where most tourists go, is a few Brobdingnagains getting artwork rendered on them in the guise of graffiti.

      The White Mountains have a completely different feel compared to the Sierra Nevada.

      A much older range and in the rain shadow, so it doesn’t get much snow and the range is much more rounded. It feels as if you are in Colorado at 12,000 feet, rather than the Sierra which is rocky and steep at that altitude.

      1. flora

        re: “The White Mountains have a completely different feel compared to the Sierra Nevada.”

        Indeed, very true. However never forget the extreme weather conditions recorded at the Mt. Washington weather station in the White Mountains. Western US climbers and hikers will do well to assess the Mt. Washington data before going east to climb or hike. imo.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m talking in regards to the White Mountains just east of the High Sierra, not back east.

          1. flora

            Whoa! There are 2 White Mountains understandings? East of the western High Sierra but not including the East Coast Appalachian range? News to me. Thanks.

          2. flora

            So how far east does the western assessment of White Mountains go? To Nevada? To Colorado? Really. It’s important to define terms and all that. Thanks.

            1. Wukchumni

              Seeing as Bristlecone pines were the subject of the discussion, you would have thought it was a no brainer as to where they come from, which most certainly isn’t back east.

    1. Ranger Rick

      Saving hard and probably planning to leave the country for somewhere with a more affordable cost of living. The problem of planning that long term of course is that those projections have a nasty habit of falling apart every couple of years.

      1. Mikel

        Taking both articles into account, it seems that despite the hype, people of all ages are looking for the exit from the BS.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Last I heard, five US MQ-9 drones have been shot down. This must make number six. It didn’t crash but looks like it glided in. Perhaps the Iranians helped the Yemenis use electronic warfare to bring it down like they did over Iran once.

      1. ambrit

        If I remember correctly, the American drone “bought down” by the Iranians was a case where some bright kids in Iranian electronics warfare “spoofed” the American control system and took command of the drone and flew it in to a safe landing at an Iranian airfield. I know nothing about the glide characteristics of the MQ Reaper airframe. However, the Russians have been making advances in electronic jamming in their work in the Russo-Ukraine war. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the Russians had sent some battle experienced ‘advisors’ off to the Yemen to help the Houthies in this matter. For easier exchange of information etc., perhaps some Chechens.

  7. CA


    May 9, 2024

    Breakthrough by Shanghai doctors uses stem cells to cure diabetes
    By Zhou Wenting

    Shanghai – Doctors in Shanghai have, for the first time in the world, cured a patient’s diabetes through the transplantation of pancreatic cells derived from stem cells.

    The 59-year-old man, who had Type 2 diabetes for 25 years, has been completely weaned off insulin for 33 months, Shanghai Changzheng Hospital announced on Tuesday.

    A paper * about the medical breakthrough, achieved after more than a decade of endeavor by a team of doctors at the hospital, was published on the website of the journal Cell Discovery on April 30.

    It is the first reported instance in the world of a case of diabetes with severely impaired pancreatic islet function being cured via stem cell-derived autologous, regenerative islet transplantation, the hospital said. The most common pancreatic islet cells produce insulin.

    Diabetes poses a serious threat to human health. Medical experts said that poor blood sugar control over a long period can lead to severe complications, including blindness, kidney failure, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications, and amputation. Life-threatening situations may also occur due to hypoglycemic coma, and ketoacidosis, which happens when the body begins breaking down fat too quickly.

    China is the country with the largest diabetic patient population. There are 140 million diabetes patients in the country, of whom about 40 million depend on lifelong insulin injections, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

    Experts said severe diabetes patients struggling with blood sugar control can only be effectively treated by minimally invasive transplantation, which injects islet tissue extracted from the pancreas of a donor.

    However, due to factors such as a severe shortage of donors and the complexity of the islet isolation technology, it is hard for such transplantation to meet current clinical needs. That made how to regenerate human pancreatic islet tissue on a large scale in vitro a worldwide academic focus, the team in Shanghai said.

    Yin Hao, a leading researcher on the team and director of the hospital’s Organ Transplant Center, said they used the patient’s own peripheral blood mononuclear cells and reprogrammed them into autologous induced pluripotent stem cells. They used technology they devised to transform them into “seed cells” and reconstituted pancreatic islet tissue in an artificial environment…

    * https://www.nature.com/articles/s41421-024-00662-3

  8. upstater

    The neocons really, really want WW3

    From Allies and Advisers, Pressure Grows on Biden to Allow Attacks on Russian Territory NYT

    But if Mr. Biden reverses course, officials concede he most likely will never announce it: Instead, American artillery shells and missiles will just start landing on Russian military targets.
    Mr. Biden’s two mandates in the war — don’t let Russia win and don’t risk starting World War III — have always been in tension with each other. But in the 27 months since Russia’s invasion, the need to choose between the possibility of Ukrainian defeat and direct involvement on attacks on the territory of a nuclear superpower have never been as stark.

    Seth G. Jones, a former U.S. military official who leads the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that after a recent trip to Kyiv he concluded that “worries about Ukraine using U.S. weapons to strike war-related targets on Russian territory are misplaced.”
    “Ukraine has a legitimate military need to weaken Russia’s ability to wage war,” he said, including striking its oil production facilities and power plants. “The United States did the same thing in Germany and Japan during World War II.”
    Mr. Jones added that fears about Russian escalation were “overblown.”

    Is WW3 the only way the democrats can see to re-elect the senile Biden?

  9. CA


    April 30, 2024

    Treating a type 2 diabetic patient with impaired pancreatic islet function by personalized endoderm stem cell-derived islet tissue
    By Jiaying Wu, Tuo Li, Meng Guo, Junsong Ji, Xiaoxi Meng, Tianlong Fu, Tengfei Nie, Tongkun Wei, Ying Zhou, Weihua Dong, Ming Zhang, Yongquan Shi, Xin Cheng, Hao Yin, et al.

    Type 2 diabetes (T2D) typically starts with insulin resistance in peripheral tissues and proceeds with gradual loss of islet function due to the reduction in β-cell mass or dedifferentiation of β cells. More than 30% of T2D patients eventually rely on exogenous insulin treatment. Cadaveric islet transplantation is an effective treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes. Notably, improved metabolic control after islet transplantation is associated with better kidney allograft function and long-term survival. However, the application of islet transplantation is severely hampered due to the critical shortage of donor organs.

    The pancreatic progenitor (PP) cells or islet tissues, generated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), have been shown to survive, function and reverse hyperglycemia in diabetic animal models. In addition, a recent clinical trial has shown that, when subcutaneously implanted into T1D patients, the hPSC-derived pancreatic endodermal cells encapsulated with non-immunoprotective devices were able to further mature into meal-responsive β-like cells and secrete insulin, albeit at the levels insufficient to achieve the independence of exogenous insulin. Nevertheless, clinical applications of hPSC-derived cells are undermined by the complicated differentiation processes and the risk of having residual undifferentiated cells that may form teratomas in vivo. Recent studies have focused on identifying intermediate stem cell types, including the non-tumorigenic human endoderm stem cells (EnSCs), which appear to be more suitable as precursors for large-scale generation of islet cells.

    Here, we report the intrahepatic implantation of islet tissue (E-islets) differentiated in vitro from autologous EnSCs in a T2D patient who had impaired insulin secretion…

  10. Big River Bandido

    I was a Mauchwitz summer employee in their “Entertainment Arts Work Experience Program” for college music students. Didn’t learn until arrival that my job was playing for the Castle show — 5 shows a day in the blazing sun, every show exactly 19:51 seconds long because the music in the house was all tracked. The musicians were just for show.

    In the 6th week we learned that the union musicians in the park who played that show had been laid off only a few months before our “summer job”. That’s how I learned the meaning of the derogatory term “scab”.

    It was indeed, quite the work experience.

  11. LawnDart

    North Korea sends 150 poop- and propaganda-loaded balloons to South Korea

    “These acts by North Korea clearly violate international law and seriously threaten our people’s safety. (We) sternly warn North Korea to stop its inhumane and vulgar act immediately,” said the JCS, as reported by Yohan.


    …hundreds of empty bottles of soju littered the launch-site, and Kim Jong Un ordered a national day of recovery. And asprin.

    1. skippy

      Balloons have been flying over the DMZ for decades, my time on the DMZ in the late late 70s/early 80s were filled with propaganda leaflets which exploded and then littered the landscape.

      Inhumane is being on a ambush patrol in winter around 2:30 AM and the Southern P.A. system starts playing DEVO whip it whilst I am on point leading too the site and all I want to do is lmmao …

      Ah … Soju and the train from Munsan to Seoul … flick of bottle cap … splash of the formaldehyde on the top … consume with Freedom Coke … next thing you know and your outside the train moving window to window on the car between tunnels …. fun game …

  12. LawnDart

    No beezle?

    Ukraine War Rips Veil Off Of US Weapons Superiority

    As Russian forces steadily advance in the Kharkiv region, it is becoming ever more clear that the Ukraine war has been a disaster for the U.S. defense machine, and not just because our aid has failed to save Ukraine from retreat and possible defeat. More importantly, the war has pitilessly exposed our defense system’s deep, underlying, faults.


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