2:00PM Water Cooler 3/29/2023

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

House Wren, Coronado National Forest, Pearce, AZ, United States. “Habitat: Dry Forest, Mixed Coniferous/Deciduous. Song.” Begins with what I swear is the sound of bees, then comes a lot of virtuosity.

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


“Idaho Is About To Become The First State To Restrict Interstate Travel For Abortion” [HuffPo]. “House Bill 242, which passed through the state House and is likely to move quickly through the Senate, seeks to limit minors’ ability to travel for abortion care without parental consent. The legislation would create a whole new crime — dubbed ‘abortion trafficking’ — which is defined in the bill as an ‘adult who, with the intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion … or obtains an abortion-inducing drug’ for the minor. ‘Recruiting, harboring, or transporting the pregnant minor within this state commits the crime of abortion trafficking,’ the legislation adds…. State Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R), one of the sponsors of the abortion trafficking bill, said plainly that the intent of the legislation is to limit minors’ ability to travel out of state without parental consent.”

Biden Administration

“Justice Department Reinforces Federal Nondiscrimination Obligations in Letter to State Officials Regarding Transgender Youth: DOJ Letter Regarding Federal Nondiscrimination Protections” [U.S. Department of Justice]. “Intentionally erecting discriminatory barriers to prevent individuals from receiving gender-affirming care implicates a number of federal legal guarantees. State laws and policies that prevent parents or guardians from following the advice of a healthcare professional regarding what may be medically necessary or otherwise appropriate care for transgender minors may infringe on rights protected by both the Equal Protection and the Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Equal Protection Clause requires heightened scrutiny of laws that discriminate on the basis of sex4 and prohibits such discrimination absent an “exceedingly persuasive” justification. Because a government cannot discriminate against a person for being transgender ‘without discriminating against that individual based on sex,’6 state laws or policies that discriminate against transgender people must be ‘substantially related to a sufficiently important governmental interest.’”… 6 Bostock v. Clayton Cnty., 140 S. Ct. 1731, 1741 (2020).” • Hmm. My views on all this were formed in the early 70s, when sex and gender were understood to be distinct. Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable in case law than I am can look at 2020’s Bostock v. Clayton Cnty.


“Is DeSantis really ‘dropping like a rock’?” [Politcio]. “There are still 10 months to go before Republican voters actually begin choosing between Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and numerous other candidates to be the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee. But the former president is already taking something of a victory lap. DeSantis, Trump bragged this weekend at a rally in Waco, Texas, is ‘dropping like a rock.’ That’s overstating the case. But it’s true that DeSantis, who hasn’t even announced he’s running for president, is receiving the kind of scrutiny reserved for frontrunning candidates — and the attendant slippage in national polling that can come with it. Just last week, polls from Monmouth and Quinnipiac universities showed Trump gaining on DeSantis. Trump netted 14 points against DeSantis in the Monmouth poll, compared to last month, and 8 points in the Quinnipiac poll. Most notably, Trump’s gains appeared to be concentrated among the voters most skeptical of his candidacy eight years ago: those with higher incomes and greater levels of educational attainment. On balance, those groups still lean away from the former president and toward DeSantis as Trump’s leading competitor. But any gains from Trump among this cohort severely damages the chances of dethroning him next year. The good news for DeSantis? There are some polls, including in the key early states, that suggest the Florida governor is still neck-and-neck with Trump at the top of the field. And, of course, there’s no national primary — just a succession of contests, each influenced by those coming before.”

Republican Funhouse

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.

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They’re still at it:

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“Trust me. I’m a Democrat!”

“What American Liberals Can Learn From Israel’s Protests” [The Atlantic]. “The success of this protest movement, which yesterday finally forced Netanyahu to postpone a vote on the bill, has to do, it seems to me, with the flags. They were everywhere, flung around shoulders, fluttering on long sticks, painted on young cheeks, stretched over the heads of crowds. There seemed to be no square foot without the blue Star of David. The protesters wrapped themselves in the flags: If there were indeed only two possible choices, this demonstration was unabashedly pro-Israel. Those who came to resist Netanyahu and the moves of his extreme-right coalition partners avoided the framing of their actions as the expected leftist response—as a form of reaction, that is. They were the ones, they said, who were being true to the values of Israel. They were the ones who represented the Jewish and democratic state that Israel was founded to be. They were the authentic Israelis—even, one might say, conservative in the truest sense of hewing to tradition—while those looking to enact what they called ‘judicial reforms’ were the dangerous radicals, the ones trying to bypass the rule of law and impose an alien authoritarianism akin to Hungary’s.”


“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).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. We are now up to 50/50 states (100%). This is really great! (It occurs to me that there are uses to which this data might be put, beyond helping people with “personal risk assessments” appropriate to their state. For example, thinking pessimistically, we might maintain the list and see which states go dark and when. We might also tabulate the properties of each site and look for differences and commonalities, for example the use of GIS (an exercise in Federalism). I do not that CA remains a little sketchy; it feels a little odd that there’s no statewide site, but I’ve never been able to find one. Also, my working assumption was that each state would have one site. That’s turned out not to be true; see e.g. ID. Trivially, it means I need to punctuate this list properly. Less trivially, there may be more local sites that should be added. NY city in NY state springs to mind, but I’m sure there are others. FL also springs to mind as a special case, because DeSantis will most probably be a Presidental candidate, and IIRC there was some foofra about their state dashboard. Thanks again!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin); 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, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (9), JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), 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 39 43 47 50/50 (94% of US states).

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Look for the Helpers

Paul is Paul Farmer.

Organization has get to take place, presumably because there’s nowhere in the existing party structure where such organizing could be done.

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“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.

“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.

Finding like-minded people on (sorry) Facebook:


Report from the field in New South Wales:


Could be that the anti-masking campaign has brought masking down to the lowest possible level, which is not zero. Time for a rebound?

A long thread on mask-fitting:

There are many good tips, but I liked this one:

“Masking Still Required in About Half of Medical Offices, Poll Finds” [MedScape]. To me, that’s surprisingly high (as was the survey of hospital epidemiologists here). Perhaps I’ve allowed myself to be gaslit? More: “Nearly half of medical groups continue to require masking even as local public health officials have dropped mask mandates, according to a recent poll from the Medical Group Management Associationopens in a new tab or window (MGMA). Of 859 respondents, 49% said their office still has a mask requirement in place, while 51% said they do not. Among the medical groups that reported not having a mask requirement, nearly three-fourths (74%) said they had one in place at this point in 2022 and removed those rules within the past year, while the remaining 26% had either previously removed such policies or never had one, the poll found. The results come from MGMA’s March 7 Stat poll, which is a poll sent weekly via text message to more than 4,000 self-selected MGMA member participants. The 49% of groups that still have mask requirements varied in how they were enforced, with 72% saying they applied to everyone — patients, staff, and visitors. Another 20% said they applied only to symptomatic patients and the staff members working with them, and 8% said masks were required for staff but optional for patients and visitors. Masking requirements also varied in where they were applied, with 31% of respondents with mask requirements saying they were required throughout their facility, while 63% said they applied only in limited areas (e.g., public/patient-facing areas or clinical areas).” • My takeaway is that with non-eugenicist CDC guidanc, we’d have near 100% masking in all medical facilities. Ah well, nevertheless.


Reality is more cunning than any theory:

IIRC, both the Kent variant in the UK and a South African variant emerged out of immune-compromised indviduals. Hard to see why this hasn’t happened in the United States.


“COVID-19 and Immune Dysregulation, a Summary and Resource” [World Health Network]. From the summary: “COVID-19 infection has several very concerning effects on the immune system that might easily lead to advantages for other pathogens as well as worse outcomes in COVID-19 reinfections. This immune dysfunction or aging is at least one of the most likely scenarios explaining the recent surges in diseases like RSV, influenza, Strep A, and other infections. By contrast, immunity debt is not considered a viable explanation as the surges of these diseases continue in countries that had surges last season and immunity wanes for many of these diseases. Another serious concern at this point is that repeated infections by COVID-19 might lead to depletion or exhaustion of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells which could have downstream effects on other diseases like cancers, as these T cells are instrumental in limiting tumor proliferation and have been shown to differentiate to become dysfunctional.”

Elite Malfeasance

“Improving Ventilation in Your Home” [CDC]. From 2022, but still up. “Ventilate your home by getting fresh air into your home, filtering the air that is there, and improving air flow. Improving ventilation can help you reduce virus particles in your home and keep COVID-19 from spreading…. The more people inside your home, and the longer they stay, the more virus particles can accumulate.” • No mention of measuring CO2, a proxy for shared air. While all the suggestions are good (opening doors and windows, HVAC filtering, HEPA air cleaners, exhaust fan in your bathroom and kitchen), the CDC denies its readers knowledge that these measures can be tested to see if they work. Unconscionable. And while we’re accumulating evidence for the Hague Tribunal, this cute little graphic appeared in my inbox:

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The masks have ear loops, so they’re not N95s (which have elastic headbands). Therefore, they tend to be more gappy, since they’re not tightened round the face. Sending a pleasingly diverse group of children out to get infected is what liberal Democrats are all about, isn’t it?

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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 27:

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/29/2023 4p1By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Lambert here: The decline seems to have bottomed out? Disappointing, with positivity and deaths still going down. However, note that if we look at “the area under the curve,” more people have died after Biden declared that “Covid is over” than before.

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.

• “CDC wastewater data shows Omaha COVID level increase” [WOWT]. Simultaneous headline, on the same page: “Omaha hospitals doing away with mask requirements.”

• “State sends rapid respond team to a Pittsfield nursing home after COVID outbreak hits more than 60 residents, staff” [Berkshire Eagle]. “A coronavirus outbreak at Springside Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center in Pittsfield has decimated staffing levels and prompted the state to send its rapid response team to the facility…. Federal and state law allows visitation at all times, even amid outbreaks, given how critical family and other visitors are for the well-being and safety of nursing home residents.” • Speaking of safety, there’s nothing in the story about ventilation or masking. There is, however, this link on understaffing, apparently a perennial problem in the Berkshires:

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Way too many deaths traps around for comfort, these days….

Covid Emergency Room Visits

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from March 25:

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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. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published March 28:

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-0.7%. Still high, but we’ve now reached a point lower than the low point of the last valley.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

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Total: 1,153,972 – 1,153,816 = 156 (156 * 365 = 56,940 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).

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published March 28:

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Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model. Looks like a data issue, to me. 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

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Retail: “New Report: The Dollar Store Invasion” [Institute for Local Self-Reliance]. “Last year, nearly half of new stores that opened in the U.S. were chain dollar stores, a degree of momentum with no parallel in the history of the retail industry… One might assume that the dollar chains are simply filling a need, providing basic retail options in cash-strapped communities. But the evidence shows something else. These stores aren’t merely a byproduct of economic distress; they are a cause of it. As this report shows, in small towns and urban neighborhoods alike, dollar stores drive grocery stores and other retailers out of business, leave more people without access to fresh food, extract wealth from local economies, sow crime and violence, and further erode the prospects of the communities they target. Dollar General and Dollar Tree (and its subsidiary Family Dollar) single out communities that have been marginalized economically and politically. In urban areas, they blanket Black and Latino neighborhoods, opening multiple outlets near one another.11 This carpet-bombing strategy undermines existing food stores, especially the independent grocery stores that often serve these communities, and makes it hard for new businesses to take root and grow, effectively locking in neighborhood deprivation. The chains also target rural towns, many already struggling from the effects of corporate consolidation and globalization.12 They typically locate next door to or across the street from the town’s only grocery store, and often succeed in wiping it out. Dollar stores are dismal substitutes; they stock little fresh produce and sell only a narrow range of processed foods, such as canned soup and soda.”

Tech: “‘It’s a dangerous race that no one can predict or control’: Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and 1,000 other tech leaders sign letter calling for pause on AI development because it poses a ‘profound risk to society and humanity’” [Daily Mail]. The Mail includes the text of the letter: “Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders. Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable. This confidence must be well justified and increase with the magnitude of a system’s potential effects. OpenAI’s recent statement regarding artificial general intelligence, states that ‘At some point, it may be important to get independent review before starting to train future systems, and for the most advanced efforts to agree to limit the rate of growth of compute used for creating new models.’ We agree. That point is now. Therefore, we call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium. AI labs and independent experts should use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts. These protocols should ensure that systems adhering to them are safe beyond a reasonable doubt.” • This is a call for self-regulation. No wonder so many “tech leaders” signed it.

Tech: “Google again accused of willfully destroying evidence in Android antitrust battle” [The Register]. ” Google Chat histories handed over by the web giant in ongoing Android antitrust litigation reveal the biz has been systematically destroying evidence, according to those suing the big G. ‘Google employees regularly and intentionally diverted to ‘history off’ Chats [sic] conversations about Google’s anticompetitive Revenue Share Agreements, Mobile Application Distribution Agreements, Google Play Billing payment policies and pricing, and a variety of other critical issues – specifically to ensure that those Chats would be destroyed,’ the plaintiffs – a mix of state government, corporate, and individuals – claim in a legal brief [PDF] filed on Monday.” • Wait. You’re telling me SBF wasn’t an outlier?

Tech: “Disney Scurries Away From Its Half-Baked Metaverse Ambitions” [Gizmodo]. “As Disney creates worlds, so too can it destroy them. The happiest company/place on Earth no longer includes a dedicated metaverse division. Disney has cut its entire “next-generation storytelling and consumer-experiences unit,” according to a Tuesday Wall Street Journal report. It’s an early glimpse into how the company intends to focus its planned layoffs of thousands of employees. Disney announced that it would slash 7,000 staff (approximately 3% of its total workforce) during a February investor call, amid a rather grim 2023 first quarter earnings report. The metaverse workers were the were the first to go, according to the WSJ’s unnamed sources. The storytelling and experiences team, comprised of about 50 staff, was responsible for grappling with metaverse strategy. The next-gen storytelling unit was reportedly supposed to come up with ways to incorporate Disney characters, narratives, and other aspects of the company’s vast compendium of intellectual property into new types of interactive, digital experiences. Specifically, the company was exploring new ‘applications in fantasy sports, theme-park attractions and other consumer experiences,’ per the WSJ. Though, what exactly the division actually delivered and developed in its brief existence is unclear.” • Froth.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 37 Fear (previous close: 38 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 42 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 28 at 1:21 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

The Gallery

“Explore Hundreds of Thousands of Japanese Woodblock Prints in a Ukiyo-e Archive” [Colossal]. “From Katsushika Hokusai’s unmistakable views of Mount Fuji to contemporary landscapes by Asano Takeji, Ukiyo-e Search collects a wide variety of Japanese woodblock prints. Programmer John Resig built the online database back in 2012, and the archive now boasts more than 223,000 individual artworks from the early 18th century to today. Encompassing an array of styles, subject matter, and aesthetic impulses, the database is organized by artist and time period, and the system facilitates easy comparison of copies held at museums and institutions around the world.” • For example:

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A pairing, still on the agricultural theme:

Another Regionalist painter. Something about that style makes my back teeth itch. I don’t know what it is! It’s not the subject matter. As long as we’re on the farm:

Class Warfare

“The Jobs Most Exposed to ChatGPT” [Wall Street Journal]. “Accountants are among the professionals whose careers are most exposed to the capabilities of generative artificial intelligence, according to a new study. The researchers found that at least half of accounting tasks could be completed much faster with the technology. The same was true for mathematicians, interpreters, writers and nearly 20% of the U.S. workforce, according to the study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and OpenAI, the company that makes the popular AI tool ChatGPT.” • Oh, so OpenAI funded the study? And therefore this is the optimistic prediction? (Note that I think that, since AI is bullshit, the quality of the work done by AIs replacing humans will go down. That does not mean, however, that the work won’t be profitable — which is, after all, the point of the exercise — or that managers won’t get their bonuses, etc.

“The EduSkeptic’s Guidebook 1.0” [Freddie deBoer]. deBoer finds this claim “indisputable”: “Students in essentially all learning contexts sort themselves into a position in the ability spectrum at an early age and stay in that position with remarkable consistency. That is, when we measure learning we find that different students perform at different levels of ability in various quantitative metrics, which creates a hierarchy of performance. What we find is that, with some wiggle and some exceptions, most people don’t move around significantly in that hierarchy of performance over the course of formal education. The students who are high-performing in early childhood education tend to remain high-performing right through college, while the students who are low-performing tend to stay in the same place as well. A remarkable number of interventions consistently fail to move students around in this performance spectrum. We can give kids skills and knowledge that they didn’t previously have. But thousands of years of formal education have not revealed consistent means to change relative performance. Again, you can see this post for many studies and datasets demonstrating this core point.”

News of the Wired

“Museums Are Improving Life for People With Dementia” [Reasons to be Cheerful]. This caught my eye: “A study in Australia that tested saliva of participants in an art museum’s dementia program found stabilized levels of cortisol — a hormone that can indicate stress. In adults generally, cultural engagement has been linked to reduced depression and anxiety, findings that Camic says also apply to people with dementia.” • I’ve been eating oysters to combat cortisol. Perhaps I need to go to art museums too!

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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 AM:

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AM writes: “Roger Williams Park on MLK Day 2023. One half of the swan pair swimming in the distance.” Looks more like February….

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