Sunday assorted links

1. Unpacking current Covid trends.

2. Which foreigners has New Zealand let in and not let in?

3. “I document that societies whose ancestors jointly practiced irrigation agriculture historically have stronger collectivist norms today.

4. Why contact tracing is not going well in New York City (NYT).

5. “Bill Pagel, 78, owns both of Bob Dylan’s childhood homes as well as his highchair. He explains it like this: “End-stage collecting is when you start collecting houses right before you’re committed.””  Tweet link here.


O/T. Sweden's big government authoritarian crack down

boy, that's gonna upset some right wing narratives

Sweden is run by socialists, obviously.

Europe is run by socialists, a-duh.

The Poles and Hungarians are clearly as socialist as Finland or Italy.

Uh-uh, Europe is run by aliens.

Turing test fail to the point of incomprehensibility.

yippie dog test. like clockwork

+1, agreed.

George really has no understanding of what other people think. He somehow believes that because some on the Right believe that Sweden's soft lock down was a better approach than a hard lock down, that everyone on the Right must hold Sweden up to be a paradigm of Libertarian policies.

Title: "No-lockdown Sweden is compelling parents to send their children to school."

Body: "Many say local officials have threatened to involve social services if the parents do not relent and send their children to school... Swedish officials told Business Insider they would not usually resort to such an extreme measure, though did not deny that it is a possibility."

lol, 'a lot of people are saying'.

as far as i know, even in the authoritarian USA, authorities have not had to resort to extreme measures either (i.e. involving social services for noncompliance)

One thing you can count on from the right: short memories

This demonstrates the pitfall of the admirable notion of allowing a few countries to pursue independent policies to test if predictions are really true and allow them to be falsifiable.

The dishonest'll just shuck and jive and dodge and weave; when their predictions are falsified, they'lll come up with ad hoc examples about why the few pursuing a different policy were just different in some other way that makes their lessons not applicable here. The possibility of falsifiability of what they have predicted simply does not exist to these people.

"This demonstrates the pitfall of the admirable notion of allowing a few countries to pursue independent policies "

Are you actually arguing that Sweden shouldn't have been allowed to determine it's own policies? Or was that just poorly worded?

No, and imo, it was well worded but poorly understood ;) !

I'm saying that it is good and right that Sweden determines its own policies, but we shouldn't expect anyone to actually learn from this.

"and imo, it was well worded but poorly understood ;) !"

I think will have to agree to disagree on that point. :)

1. Twitter threads are unreadable abominations, as if Twitter hadn't already lowered the bar on discourse enough without them.

Then don't read them.


"Unpacking..." followed by a link to Twitter. I didn't even bother clicking.

The twitter author does bring up a good point. US new case numbers have plateaued at a lower than peak level. Well technically it's probably a gradual decline, but it's not a steep slope.

However, the death rate has dropped by a large margin. What's changed? As far as I can tell the hospitals haven't managed any miracles, so what's the reason for the significant drop off in deaths?

I'm greatful for it of course, but I'd really like to know the why of it?

4. I'd be reluctant to answer a number I don't know, and even more unwilling to start telling some unknown stranger who claims to be working for the government where I'd been and who I'd seen. I think we can expect untracked outbreaks in socially embarrassing places like Hooters.

Contact tracing requires special social skills. Before this pandemic, contact tracers were working mostly on sexually transmitted diseases. The good ones could get people to divulge intimate secrets.

1. It's not surprising that new cases are concentrated in a younger cohort since younger folks are the first to restart their social lives while older folks continue to stay in relative isolation. One hopes that this trend continues (since younger folks are less at risk), although it's still unclear what the long-term effects of covid 19 will be. My experience this past week is that younger folks have become far less careful, not wearing masks and socializing in large groups (in bars and restaurants), many believing that the pandemic crisis has passed (largely because that's what politicians are telling them). Unfortunately, younger folks often come in contact with older folks, putting the latter at great risk. What is becoming increasingly clear is that covid 19 infections are the work of super spreaders. Florida's governor has changed his public pronouncements in the past two days as new cases in Florida spike, encouraging folks to wear masks in public. Can he un-ring the bell?

It’s almost like young people live in the real world where there is no boogeyman.

California's new-case curve looks the same as Florida's. The disease stubbornly resists being made into a red-state phenomenon.

Are clearly obsessed with things that the virus cares absolutely nothing about. The disease also stubbornly resists being made into a blue-state phenomenon. As demonstrated by the fact California's new-case curve looks the same as Florida's.

Nice dodge, but the disease has been heavily concentrated in a few blue states with really high death rates. Florida will have to spike for a really long time before it ever gets close to New York scale. And yet DeSantis is assaulted as failure in these comments and the media at large by people who never let the words "Cuomo" or "Whitmer" pass their lips. As I'm writing, a commenter just below is cherry-picking pro-Trump demonstrators (just like Tabarrok did a while back) while pretending that the anti-Trump protests and riots never happened (again just like Tabarrok). I get that you're just trolling and not trying to make an actual point, but it seems that constant pushback against this theme is necessary.

Ravaged blue states like NY, NJ and Ma suffered from degraded public health, and skepticism of the rulers from years of democrats running them down.

Also MD's have learned how not to kill people with over pressured vents, and the use of certain medication regimes which worked in China but using a new medicine in the US is not as easy as unnecessarily tanking the US economy to not save lives.

Further the easy victims in ravaged blue states are far fewer many died off and summer weather means either the virus don't survive in warm humid air to infect or the warm weather increases human immune response even in blue state. Hospitalizations and morbidity are down in the ravaged blue states, not due to any effort that tanked the economy.

In the red state the pandemic panic press highlight hospitalization are not rising with the new healthier, younger cases, and morbidity is reduced with better medicine than the blue states suffered in April.

We haven't had a huge number of anti-lock down rallies, but when we do, people have the Trump hats and 2020 banners.

Here's a beautiful example photo:

The biggest and most sustained de facto anti-lockdown rallies in CA have been overwhelmingly anti-Trump.

By that you mean BLM? Apparently they were their masks. And were outdoors.

We'll see how the few stragglers still on the Trump campaign do indoors without masks.

Seems to me the image of the rally in Tulsa not overflowing means a lot of us, anti democrat voters, know enough to avoid indoor crowds. And the disaffected democrats, who enjoy property rights, along with independents would not go to a Trump rally any more than they would vote for poor old Joe.

For whatever reason Trump really got on the wrong side of history here.

6000 people, what you described as anti-Democrats, showed up for an indoor rally.

Recent polls say that 25 million people participated in outdoor rallies associated with the death of George Floyd.

I'm sure those 25 million had a range of emotions, but as I say, did not manage to get all right side of any of them. There was a straight-up BLM sentiment. There was anger at Coronavirus response. There was a great deal of Trump fatigue.

Is a bit comical that the guy who lived by the rally dies by the rally.

Trying to guage "silent majority" sentiment by protest or even rally turnout had always been a bad idea.

Ultimately Trump's re-election bid will live or die by in the autumn whether his voters last time are confident that he'll continue the same policies he advocated last time and which they supported (immigration restriction and control, international trade renegotiation, isolationism from foreign wars, opposition to chilling PC on campuses and civil society, fiscal stimulus and economic regeneration for the heartland and rustbelt) in a not too shambolic way. Vs the risks that Biden (almost autocorrected that to Burden hah) will both reverse these trends and be a puppet of the radical Woke elements in the Democratic Party. Strength of feeling in the streets and among very vocal young people who arent that numerous and don't vote that much, just doesn't matter.

I think the silent majority in this election is going to be the people who are just completely exhausted by politics and don’t want to have to think about the president or government regularly. I know lots of people who would never go to a protest and that I don’t think of as political who have mentioned how exhausted of or outraged by Trump they are. Polls show that the top issue for Americans by far is government dysfunction, not any of the issues you state or any racial issues. This silent majority will favor Biden, and the more this election is focused on Trump, the more they will favor Biden.

The thing that many partisans on both sides ignore is that there was never strong affirmative support for Trump. Rather, 2016 exit polls showed that most voters disliked both Clinton and Trump, a huge number of voters disliked both, and those voters mostly backed Trump as an anti-Hillary vote. Trump overread his election victory as a mandate to pursue very extreme policies—Trump’s approval rating was positive for the first couple months of his presidency until his first major action, which was the Muslim ban, and that drove his approval rating permanently negative. This time, the people who dislike both sides are going to mostly go for Biden. You already see from the Democratic primary election results that Biden is not drawing a protest vote like Hillary did.

Muslim ban? I got a friend that I have to tell him he doesn't exist anymore?

we think you are over-rating most americans support for leftist wingnut
"public tribunals",cancel cultism &arson

I could say *nobody* is going to turn out to vote for Fat Elvis, but that's not quite right. There were a few people, mostly old, and of his generation, who stuck with Elvis to the end.

But not everyone is a diehard Fat Elvis fan.

Re: ...leftist wingnut" public tribunals",cancel cultism &arson

Which have no more to do with the Democratic ticket than theocracy or libetarianism define the GOP ticket. Though both sides love to hang lurid hyperboles involving such things on their opponents.
But realistically we facing neither "The Handmaid's Tale" nor "Red Dawn" no matter who wins in November.

cancel culture is not hyperbole it is a tactic

It's a lurid slogan by fraidy-cats on the Right. In reality, there's no Cancel button life. Once upon a time we called this country "the home of the brave". Nopw

To finish the abruptly truncated above; Now it's an atrocity when someone is an obnoxious ass to one on the Internet.

+1, I think that Zaua makes a good case here. Biden is a non-entity. In this election, that's likely to be a positive.

It's plausible that he wins for sure... But there are paths to victory for Trump's campaign. Shift the focus away from the sort of "personal character" that anon loves and towards the issue stances that made folk vote for Trump in 2016 (which anon hates talking about), do it in the right parts of the US, and a win is plausible.

2016 was a pretty placid year, and anything that did go wrong could be credibly blamed on Obama. That doesn't describe 2020 at all, and Trump is flunking out on handling the crises which beset us. A skilled politician, a Nixon or a Clinton, could have gotten out ahead of the pandemic and the protests with effective leadership ( or at least the appearance thereof) and ridden them to victory. Trump is flubbing the leadership test. For example, his "Bible photo op" comes off as his "Dukakis in the tank" moment.

that "photo-op" meme zombie media meme was a pretty reductive mischaracterization of what happened that day. Did you know he gave a speech?

The problem is he looked so ridiculous his speech did not matter except to the True Believers.

Yes, it's fairly debateable if there is one... But noisy protests won't tell you much either way.

It's very cute that you think 2016 was a rational election, driven by "policies."

Yeah, I think Trump mostly won on the basis of those points. What else did he win on? His charming personality?

By the way, this is the moment where smart conservatives try to claim some of that youthful energy, rather than opposing it in a knee jerk and reactionary way.

1. The upswing in test-positive for the South and West look like more than noise. Not a good development.

More up-thread from that entry point.

Makes me wonder if air-conditioning isn't a factor. That would jive with the big outbreaks at the meat packing plants as well as the recent outbreak at the fish market in Beijing.

Breathing other people's backwash is the factor. That's where the virus comes from; that's how you get the virus in you.

What, the Wuhan democrat hoax virus? Get real. It won't "get in you."

Yes, if things get only six times in worse in Georgia, they'll be nearly as bad off as NY.

New York's initial policy stance (danger of the Wuhan virus was exaggerated, everyone should congregate in defiance of these rumors to demonstrate our courage against racism) led to the highest infection rates in the country, just like in Daegu and Hubei.

As in other countries, when the NY hospitals filled up the other states quickly implemented social distancing.

Yeah, I know, but the temp/humidity in air conditioned buildings could enable/enhance such infections.

Yes. Have you read this?

There is also an uptrend in Southern California. Where it is also hot.

California has less of a spike and more of a consistently upward sloping trend. It's both surprising and bad news.

April 4 - 34,642 new cases
June 20 - 33,388 new cases

The basic trend, or lack thereof, is not hard to see.

Per capita, people!

You are seriously suggesting the population of the U.S. changed significantly in the last couple of months?

You would have a bit better luck arguing about testing, even if some governor tosses out something like this - “Even with the testing increasing or being flat, the number of people testing positive is accelerating faster than that,” DeSantis (R) said at a news conference. “You know that’s evidence that there’s transmission within those communities.”

If you don't get tested and get a positive result for infection then you will never know you can't breath, can't move without aid.

Hey, if you are never diagnosed with cancer, you will never die of cancer.

In fact, it you don't know when you are born, you never know to celebrate your birthday, and thus you will never get old, and you can live forever.

The increase in cases per day on average:

Apr 1 to Apr 7.......11.1%
May 1 to May 7.....2.3%
Jun 1 to Jun 7........1.2%
Jun 13 to Jun 20....1.2%

There has been far more testing in the past three weeks than in April and early May.

So, no decline at all between June 1 and June 20. The quote from a governor above indicates that the current growth in new cases in his state is happening regardless of any increase in testing.

The above is for the U.S. as a whole and there has been a huge increase in testing in the past three weeks according to The One - I mean, Dr. Fauci.


On June 21 the US reported 7120 per million positive tests (infections/cases, the testing has been devoid of any attempt at random, so contribute almost nothing to Business Insider, CNN or Bloomberg panicking the peeps about the disease) accumulated since the onset of testing (the virus likely arrived in Dec 2019) that is like .00721 rate in the US population.

According to the panickers aka CNN experts you do not get herd immunity until .65 to .7.

US has been at it 4 months and is not moving toward herd immunity.

Good luck with that vaccine, run by the experts that got the US here!

The rend is hard to see - by definition, statistics are what happened, not what is happening. In the case of this virus, we also now have an approximation of lead times. The testing and cases stats lag reality by that amount of time.

The trend is easy to see. We were called upon to flatten the curve, and we have done so.

I think it's better to look at the US as separate regions and see it move from the Northeast to the South. That' s the trend.

As of right now things are looking pretty good in places like Massachusetts. My biggest concern is that what we are seeing in the South are people moving into air-conditioned spaces. There's a heat wave just starting in the Northeast, and Massachusetts is going to open restaurants for indoor dining starting on Monday. That seems like a recipe for disaster if people are sitting in recirculating air.

I'm happy to eat out doors but it seems insane to go inside. I don't feel in any danger personally as I don't think I would suffer any major consequences even if I did come down with it, but I'm concerned about possibly infecting my older relatives who are in the critical 70+ age group.

'I think it's better to look at the US as separate regions'

A valid perspective, though in the case of California, it has become obvious that the growing number of new cases has zero to do with infections moving from Northeast to the South.

The important thing is that overall even though cases are plateauing or increasing, ICU admissions and deaths are falling.
The ones being infected now, are younger and will have a less severe Covid outcome.
The US is very heterogeneous. Cases are not increasing everywhere. They’re not increasing in NYC. They’re way down over there. They have had too many infections already for that to happen.

New York is not remotely near herd immunity.

What they do have is a hard won lesson about safe practices, something that may not be understood in areas now seeing increases.

My own county of Orange California is seeing two things, huge public resistance against masks, and huge increase in cases.

Go figure.

They're right there and that's why cases are declining so sharply even when they have reopened.
NYT quotes 19.2 % on May 2 in NYC. It's now 25%+ in places like the Bronx or Syaten Island. Herd immunity depends on R .
at R of 1.5 ( reasonable with masks) you just need 33 % immune not 60%.
There is a fair amount of the population ( probably 15%) that's hardly immune , hardly infectious ( most of them children). They don't get infected and don't spread the virus. They're never symptomatic so we're there.
Search on children and Covid in the Med/BIo Arxiv and read the papers.

* hardly susceptible, hardly infectious

I agree that if everyone wears masks things look much better.

But how do you get herd immunity with an R greater than one? It seems contradictory. You are saying with masks 1.5, which is growth.

Herd immunity threshold: HT = 1 - 1/R
it's easy to see. Call Pi the proportion of already immune, then ( 1- PI) are the susceptible
You must have at threshold : R ( 1-Pi) =1
so 1- Pi =1/R and Pi_threshold = 1- 1/R

Sure, but I don't think anyone is interested in herd immunity assuming masks, social distancing and all sorts of restrictions on business. People are interested in herd immunity assuming life the way it was in February 2020 and that is what we are still far from.

Why not ? Using masks you can go about your daily business in most cases, except eating and drinking. They're used routinely in Asia.
What's up with the US that so many people can't stand masks.
It's much better than a lockdown. A lockdown uses your house as a giant mask !

NYC never shut down the subways/buses, Wuhan stopped all mass transit on day one. "Essential" workers in the US were uncontrolled unlike Wuhan which segregated them.

US lockdown effects are unclear, aside from ruining the economy.

I have family on Long Island. They did abide by lockdown rules and have not been infected.

However, estimates are that far more infections have occurred in metro NY than people getting sick enough to report for a test.

NY metro is closer to very few easy infections than herd immunity suppositions imply.

NY is close to herd immunity if the T cell unsusceptible population is 40-50% as suggested by some studies linked to my TC

June 20 to April 4 - 226% greater number of tests. If the positive tests are stable, the number of infected goes way down. I know we are fated to have Democrats, but Did God have to make them so stupid?

I am convinced that this virus would be very boring if the democrats' cabal were not out to dump Trump by putting 25M American out of work.

What's God's take on Right-To-Work states going from one third of new infections early April to two thirds end of June?

5. 84K in 1990...320K last yr

But hilarious, as a new gang of memesters rides into town, painting arena upper seats blue - “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”

Users of the popular social media sites have often sought to thwart conservative campaigning by far-right accounts. In recent weeks, for example, hashtags supporting “Blue Lives Matter”, a movement in support of police officers, were co-opted by fans tweeting memes of famous blue characters like the Smurfs and Captain Planet.

One suspects little ink will be spilled over Korean influence in our elections.

If the South Korean government was involved, they should be sanctioned. If any Americans citizens conspired with a foreign government, they should be indicted.

But if a bunch of mostly American teenagers punked somebody, not so much.

I don't know if you heard, but the Trump campaign did not even put an "I am 18" check box on the form. As is actually required by law..

They were obviously bots. The question now is: how do the Koreans benefit from having Joe Biden in office? Where is Mueller when you need him?

You are hilarious - the new memesters are clearly going to turn you into chum, shark boy.

I thought the million number was after confirmation by text message.

Bots do not have a million cell phones.

"My 14 year old, at breakfast in Britain: 'Oh, yeah, Dad. I did that too. I registered for three tickets to the Trump rally in Tulsa.'"

lol, tell us some more about how you were defeated by the 14-year-olds.

"The Trump campaign pushed back, accusing Ocasio-Cortez of encouraging a foreign-owned platform to interfere with US elections and politics. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance."

China, South Korea - what difference does it make to the ink being spilled? You seem unaware that the K-pop memesters are mainly Americans, not Koreans. And equally unaware of the position taken by the Trump campaign. Try to keep up - memes are what will decide the election, some believe.

Here's the serious problem for Trump.

In 2016 the kids(*) thought it was fun to punk on Hillary. This year Biden keeps a low profile, and Trump is carrying the biggest "kick me" sign he possibly can.

Tell us again how you warned the general you might need to grab him!

* - plus foreign agents


The only foreign messing which has been born out by investigation was $100k dollars worth of facebook ads. Half of that went Trumish and half to BLM.

Remember the Trek episode with the swords? It was just like that--- the bot farm didn't care who won just that the fight was bloody.

Please stop giving them more than their money's worth.


considering cheering for the bot farm, they seem like the clear winner here

team blue: grrr!
team red: grrr!

False equivalence has bedeviled these conversations for 4 years now.

Do you really think an English 14-year-old having a goof is the same as a Russian spy organization interfering in an election?

Do you really have so little discernment..


The ads were definitely only a fraction.

There were lots of documented trolls and bots coming right out of St Petersburg.

I don't know if you don't know that or if you're just trying on the common subterfuge.

Hey, maybe you are denying that from St Petersburg!

Again, they were obviously bots. Isn't that what we were told in 2016? I admit it is hard to keep up with the narrative whiplash.

Right, today's TikTok users unquestionably remember what you were told in 2016, shark chum. You are going to really enjoy the next few months, as the new memesters have fun with a man who considers himself a master of social media.

"One suspects little ink will be spilled over Korean influence in our elections."

OK, Boomer.

It is worth remembering that flu season in New Zealand hasn't started yet. If there is a strong seasonality aspect to covid, it's hardly surprising that they have found it easy to control.

US has history of coronavirus "colds". They have been observed to be "seasonal". That implies Cov-SARS-2 is seasonal. However, it has advanced in warmer temperate countries.

Seasonal effects are not well understood. It is debated whether the effect is healthier humans, like higher Vit D levels from suntans, or is the virus not thriving in warm, humid air?

3. “I document that societies whose ancestors jointly practiced irrigation agriculture historically have stronger collectivist norms today.”
I can show that societies who learned Egyptian hieroglyphs have better sentence construction and punctuation.

Why is contact tracing being done on a state-by-state level rather than from a federal tracing center or via some sort of cooperation between the states? Hire 100k people all across the US, get them to install the right software and off you go. Then use randomized audits to exclude the bad apples and give extra cash to those who are most successful at contact tracing.

Also, why is NY requiring people to have a "health background" to be hired as contact tracers? What difference does it make for someone who's only job is to collect contact information rather than offer health advice?

Overall a huge bureaucratic failure. They should've just offered a 10 billion dollar bounty at the beginning for a private company who can do the contact tracing best. It would've been solved by the end of April with a hyper efficient Silicon Valley startup or established giant. But nope, gotta have bureaucrats try and build the system instead and show us all just how much they suck.

"Why is contact tracing being done on a state-by-state level rather than from a federal tracing center or via some sort of cooperation between the states?"

I don't think the infrastructure exists for a federal contact tracing program. Ideally, there should be tight coordination and resource-sharing between state and county health departments and the CDC but it's not clear if that is happening in practice.

As for the "health background" requirement, I don't know the specifics but I mentioned above most experienced contact tracers acquire the experience by tracing cases of sexually transmitted diseases. You need someone who is very good at putting people at ease and getting them to disclose fairly intimate parts of their lives. What if a person's contacts are prostitutes or people they smoke crack with? Just hiring someone off the street and expecting them to successfully elicit this kind of information is not going to work.
One thing that isn't clear to me is that contacts who are identified through contact tracing are being told to self-isolate for 14 days even if they are tested. Shouldn't part of the value of testing be to release people from self-isolation in a shorter period of time if they test negative and have no symptoms?

I was never a huge Dylan fan in my youth, and I still would not pay to see him in concert, and in fact if I am sitting at a bar with friends and if he walks in and offers to sing a few of his old songs, I would probably ask him not to bother .... of course I would like him to sit down and talk with us, but as for listening to him sing .... one is reminded of a Jane Austen novel ( P&P) and unwanted piano and voice stylings ....

but over the years I have realized that what i really really like in popular music is something Dylan, who is a poet at heart, also understands ...
I don't know what to call it, but I have heard it called cosmic Americana music - think Spirit of New Orleans, or King of Road, for a couple top 40 railroad examples (and there are truck examples, bourbon examples, coming back from a useless war examples, missing one's dog for 15 years examples - back to the top 40 with that one), or those ten to twenty minutes in a given tour when the Grateful Dead was actually playing as if their heart was in it, or The Band or Dolly Parton singing about NOT THEIR CHILDHOOD (they were not good enough artists to sing about childhood without getting kitschy) but about their fear of forgetting everything they ever loved about the country they were born in. and of course Louis and Bix on a good day.

One could go on, but I have no desire to write a long comment on someone else's blog, ever again.

There are currently 900/day entering NZ. (over 20k people since start of April)
There were critical failures with admin of the 14 day quarantine procedures by our Ministry of Health 2 weeks ago (after entries ramped up) leading to a currently unknown number of people exiting quarantine without testing for the virus.

This came to light after 2 people got tested after exit and were found to have the virus. In the week since then about 5 others in quarantine have tested positive. Government does not know how many people have exited without testing, but confirm there are a number of them (they expect to know by the end of this day)

NZ may be corona free but the article understates their dilemma.

Foreign tourism and education make up over 25% of the NZ economy. Unless they open the borders or we get a vaccine they are permanently 25% poorer.

Not how it works. NZeders holiday and edumacate overseas as well. Also, if resources aren't reassigned to service New Zealanders, they will be put to other uses. Teachers don't sit around for evar waiting for their Chinese students to show.

Well, some might. But you can fix that by cutting off their supply of mull.

I agree that the effect won't be permanent, but it's not easy or quick to move Teachers into other high paying fields. Nor will it be easy or quick to relocate asset developments from the travel industry to other industries. Either the will to keep out tourist collapses, or we get a quick vaccine/effective measures or New Zealand suffers a long lasting recession (multiple quarters).

Australia and New Zealand will probably decide not to have long lasting recessions. Or at least avoid long lasting technical recessions.
After the hit their economies have taken a lot of incompetence would be needed to maintain negative growth.

In the US where wages are being cut -- the opposite of a textbook response -- things don't look so good. (Not that were completely immune to that sort of stupidity here. The Australian government decided to reward emergency workers who got us through the crisis by cancelling their pay increases, increasing the chance they won't bother to actually run those PCR tests and just right "fine" on the paperwork and knock off early to go to the pub.)

#1. Author believes that because transmission is increased by people being in enclosed indoor spaces, that case counts will decrease in summer. That only works in places where the summers are nice and people want to be outdoors. This is not the case in much of the southern US. I.e. Arizona, for example (109 degrees today). Notably, the current outbreaks are all in hot southern places.

So when are Cato / Mercatus / Koch going to start a campaign against irrigation?

#2: A useful article about the downsides of NZ's policies. But this line was odd: "it entered its first recession in nearly a decade."

Haven't most countries (Australia and China excepted) just gone a little over a decade since their last recession? The article seems to imply that there is something unusual about New Zealand having had such a long spell since it's last recession. But perusing its GDP stats, it looks like the rest of the world to me; like most countries it's had a deep recession around 2008-2009 and has had recovery years since then, until 2020.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand agrees: "New Zealand’s most recent recession commenced with the March 2008 quarter and ended with the June 2009 quarter."

#3: I don't have free access to the article, it sounds like they're talking about social norms, not just political norms (i.e. collectivist or communist or socialist policies)?

It's an intriguing idea (I don't know how long it's been around; IIRC Gladwell or Diamond talked about how fierce and violent hill people and their descendants are, and the notion of people of Scotch-Irish ancestry especially in Appalachia reflecting the highland mores of their ancestors has been around for decades).

But I think we'd be wise to be way of these simplistic and essentialist readings of culture. Although it's even more speculative (and I'm less inclined to believe it), think of the "building culture" post that Tyler cited a couple of days ago. Some very important aspects of culture can change, it might take decades or centuries, but cultures do change.

Maybe after millennia, some remnants of the irrigationist vs nomadic herding cultural differences do remain. It's possible, but we'd be wise to keep looking at other, perhaps more recent and ore important, cultural influences than irrigation.

Yes, I agree with the basic insight that culture is downstream of economics, but culture can shift very rapidly in response to economic shifts. US culture today is more similar to parts of Asia with a similar level of economic development than it is to US culture in 1800.

1. Perhaps the new outbreak in California provides additional support for the multiple strains theory, with an easier-to-control Asian strain and a harder-to-control European strain. It seems that California like Singapore was maybe hit by the easier strain first and managed to contain it decently well but is now having trouble with the harder strain?

Or it could be that Southern California is nice in winter and people go outside more often. I realize that coastal areas are still nice but it's mid-80s in Burbank, CA right now. It's 90 in Riverside. Lot of people are going to be indoors.

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