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Links 9/16/2020

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Links 9/16/2020

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Scientists baffled by orcas ramming sailing boats near Spain and Portugal Guardian

Oil Demand Has Collapsed, And It Won’t Come Back Any Time Soon NPR

Business Roundtable to endorse market-based climate policy Politico

Study suggests financial holdings influenced key votes for house lawmakers Phys.org (RM).

Shock and sorrow as Canada’s biggest co-op sold to US private equity firm Guardian (IM). IM: “Canadians who were born in the 70s grew up with MEC; I always had an MEC backpack for school, bought my winter jackets there, and when I spent serious time in the mountains in the 1990s, I couldn’t wait to make trips to the store in Calgary to gear up. There really was a co-op spirit that reflected the organization’s collectivist, hippie west coast / prairie roots. Many meaningful trips in the wilderness happened with MEC gear. Now it’s…in the hands of private equity.”

Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway Names Kathryn Farmer First Female CEO Of Major Railroad Forbes. BNSF moves a lot of coal, and a lot of containers. So a woman is holding the bag…

Microsoft pulls underwater data center back to the surface to assess benefits of deep-sea cloud GeekWire

Wildfires

West Coast wildfires are ravaging communities. Here’s how to help victims and first responders USA Today

Wildfire dispatch from an Oregon farm The Counter

DIY on smoke filtering (dk). Thread:

#COVID19

Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. From the discussion: “Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking, might be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection.” Handy chart:

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This is interesting, but these are also aggregates, and the virus is highly capricious. For example, I would bet exposure varies by church denomination and worship style (shouting, singing). “Shopping” is also a category that’s far too broad: Air circulation patterns will differ between and within malls and small shops.

‘Trained Immunity’ Offers Hope in Fight Against Coronavirus Quanta. And from that article–

Effectiveness of booster BCG vaccination in preventing Covid-19 infection (preprint) medRxiv. From the abstract: “Our findings demonstrated the potential effectiveness of the booster BCG vaccine, specifically the booster in preventing Covid-19 infections in an elevated-risk healthcare population.” Controversy here, however.

COVID-19 herd immunity: where are we? Nature. From the discussion: “With flu pandemics, herd immunity is usually attained after two to three epidemic waves, each interrupted by the typical seasonality of influenza virus and more rarely by interventions, with the help of cross-protection through immunity to previously encountered influenza viruses, and vaccines when available10. For COVID-19, which has an estimated infection fatality ratio of 0.3–1.3%1,5, the cost of reaching herd immunity through natural infection would be very high, especially in the absence of improved patient management and without optimal shielding of individuals at risk of severe complications. Assuming an optimistic herd immunity threshold of 50%, for countries such as France and the USA, this would translate into 100,000–450,000 and 500,000–2,100,000 deaths, respectively. Men, older individuals and those with comorbidities are disproportionally affected, with infection fatality ratios of 3.3% for those older than 60 years and increased mortality in individuals with diabetes, cardiac disease, chronic respiratory disease or obesity. The expected impact would be substantially smaller in younger populations.”

High potency of a bivalent human VH domain in SARS-CoV-2 animal models (preproof; PDF) Cell. From the abstract: “It potently neutralized mouse adapted SARSCoV-2 in wild type mice at a dose as low as 2 mg/kg and exhibited high prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, possibly enhanced by its relatively small size… The potent neutralization activity of VMH-Fc ab8 combined with good developability properties and cross-reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 mutants provide a strong rationale for its evaluation as a COVID-19 therapeutic.” This really does look like a novel approach (here is the English version), although let us remember the First Law of Animal Studies: “Monkeys exaggerate and mice lie.”

Man ‘uses snake as a face mask’ on bus Yahoo News (Re Silc).

How COVID-19 Has Affected One Mexican Pueblo Commonweal

Russian excess deaths over summer outstrip COVID toll by more than 3 to 1 Reuters

China?

China’s great power play puts Asia on edge FT

Chinese Communist Party Wants Stronger Role in Private Sector Bloomberg

Felix Chung: Issue bonds to fund Lantau project RTHK. I’m told this is an enormous boondoggle.

Baidu Apollo head says technical issues and high costs likely to delay full roll-out of robotaxis until 2025 South China Morning Post

Suga takes the reins as Japan’s new prime minister, replacing Abe Japan Times

Japan’s exports extend double-digit declines as pandemic hits demand Reuters

UK/EU

The Great British Humbling The Atlantic

Bandits Target Nigeria’s Farmers and Threaten Food Security Bloomberg

Syraqistan

Israel signs deal establishing formal ties with two Arab states at the White House WaPo. And it’s not even October!

New Cold War

Navalny’s Poisoning Is the Act of a Sickly Regime Tatiana Stanovaya, Carnegie Moscow Center

Trump Transition

Economists warn of US ‘wasteland’ without stimulus deal FT

Emails Show the Meatpacking Industry Drafted an Executive Order to Keep Plants Open ProPublica

Lawmakers Mull Whether Depression-Era Laws Could Break Up Big Tech Gizmodo. From late August, still germane.

2020

QAnon site shutters after reports identifying developer The Hill. For a world-girdling conspiracy theory that’s shaping up to be our next moral panic, this Jason Gelinas dude is making $3,000 a month on Patreon? That’s enough to keep him in granite counter-tops, but hardly f*ck you money for somebody who works on Wall Street, even if only in IT. Gelinas looks like an opportunistic arriviste to me. I’m still waiting for our famously free press to find out who (or what) the original Q was. Isn’t that the story here?

Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation Buzzfeed

Realignment and Legitimacy

Sudden efforesence on this topic:

We need to reclaim populism from the right. It has a long, proud leftwing history Thomas Frank, Guardian

Conservatives Should Ensure Workers a Seat at the Table American Compass. Since liberal Democrats don’t want to….

Red and Blue America took different roads. Here’s how to bring them together Jeffrey Sachs, CNN

A Political Philosopher on Why Democrats Should Think Differently About Merit The New Yorker

America is a Tale of Fractured Economic Realities and That’s Stopping Us From Fixing this Crisis Time

How the Death of Faith Will Hurt the Left Murtaza Hussain, Wisdom of Crowds

Guns or Butter: How the Public Judges Its Leaders in an Authoritarian Regime NYU Jordan Center

The New Economy:

Waiting for technicals, here, where they put the guns on the truck, Mad Max-style.

Health Care

Who Pays for Covid-19 Medical Care? That Depends on How (or if) You Are Insured WSJ. The deck: “Pandemic has put a spotlight on the vast differences in affordability of health care across the country.”

Promoting Equitable Access To COVID-19 Vaccines—The Role Of Medicaid Health Affairs

Our Famously Free Press

U.S. commander: Intel still hasn’t established Russia paid Taliban ‘bounties’ to kill U.S. troops NBC. I don’t understand this at all. When the Times broke the story, they sourced it to “American intelligence officials.” What could have gone wrong?

Assange

Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 10 Craig Murray. A must-read.

Police State Watch

Government corruption and negligence drive most wrongful convictions, report finds NBC

City of Louisville reaches $12 million settlement with Breonna Taylor’s family NBC. Criminal charges still hanging fire.

Column: We don’t know much about the ambush of 2 L.A. County deputies. But we have scapegoats Los Angeles Times

Boeing

Boeing hid design flaws in Max jets from pilots and regulators FT. For more on Boeing’s more recent woes, see here at NC.

For Poor Countries, Gains in Education Are Not Matched in Income Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis (UserFriendly).

Class Warfare

Mom lied about residence to get TennCare benefits for her 3 kids, officials say FOX17. Faces up to 27 years in prison.

Stripe will pay workers $20,000 to move — then cut their pay Los Angeles Times

World missing all targets to save nature, UN warns France24

Sydney’s New Suburbs Are Too Hot for People to Live In Bloomberg

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States Pro Publica (Re Silc). “Today, the combination of truly dangerous heat and humidity [“wet bulb”] is rare. But by 2050, parts of the Midwest and Louisiana could see conditions that make it difficult for the human body to cool itself for nearly one out of every 20 days in the year. New projections for farm productivity also suggest that growing food will become difficult across large parts of the country, including the heart of the High Plains’ $35 billion agriculture industry.” Handy map:

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Interesting how the Missisippi River basin transforms to a weakness from a continental strength (though I wonder how river restoration would affect humidity; I’d guess favorably). So, coastal elites doing pretty well on their project to turn flyover into a teardown! Kidding. Partly. Pretty well, except for ocean rise, of course. I wonder how long before the Irvings start selling off the Unorganized Territories in Maine to, well, gentrifiers….

New ‘Solar Cycle’ Has Begun, NASA Says Independent (KW).

Antidote du jour (Timotheus):

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Timotheus: “Monarchs at Mentor Marsh (Ohio), near Lake Erie.”

Bonus antidote:

Sid! Sid! Sid! Sid!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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