Thursday assorted links

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#4: I assume the MR/libertarian view is that people should be able to build whatever they like wherever they like?

Not really, if it’s a nature preserve.

Classic motte and bailey argument.

+1, thread winner

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That's probably a fair critique.

Shrug, I'm not an ancap

I'm pretty sure it's a flat out joke. IE we are talking about an actual castle here with an actual motte and bailey.

Facepalm. I got Wooshed

Yes, I was just having fun. Didn't mean to tease you.

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In the photo I see no motte and no bailey. Just an unfortified castle on flat ground.

The video actually shows a small bailey under construction. It's on opposite side from the picture. Though it only has trees in it and no buildings. so maybe it's not technically a bailey but a walled garden.

But in any case, Tom T's joke was funny.

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I think the parking garage will be a weak point.

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Can't they just cite the Castle Doctrine?

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Libertarians believe you can build what you like on your property (with some caveats relating to inherently unsafe materials, like nuclear stockpiles).

Libertarians argue that you cannot build ANYTHING on someone else's property without their permission.

Public property complicates things, but as it is generally managed by some group or organization, I would argue that the managing organization has final say. It's similar to a company owning an apartment complex and having a property manager run it. Strictly speaking the manager isn't the owner, but the owner is morally allowed to delegate portions of their responsibility to a representative (this is in fact how management works).

Without settled property rights, development of that alien solar system might take forever.

"Tuskens think they're the locals. Everyone else is just trespassing."

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Or it could result in faster though chaotic development, a classic land grab or planet grab. Everyone might want to be an Oklahoma Sooner spaceman and get there first.

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"whats mine is mine and yourn is yourn" is all well and good.

but tends to fall apart when what you are doing on YOUR property impacts the properties (and health) over everyone else around them.

because the point of property is not to own it for its own sake, or even merely to do what the hell you want with it. The point of owning property is to make money from it, and/or enjoy a quiet sunset on your back porch.

And so that's where all the fun begins, and where Libertarianism has yet to come up with a decent answer for.

Pigouvian taxes

Not just government. I have some experience with HOA's and they show what NIMBYs can really do when they put their minds to it.

Note that an HOA is a voluntary, self-organized, self-governed, legal contractual entity that is owned and operated by property owners themselves.

Ought to be a Libertarian paradise, right?

lol

Sure, I don’t see anything wrong with HOAs. Or Condo Co-ops. It’s spelled out in the contract what the terms are.

You are in the minority.

What they are, legally, is among the most misunderstood topics on Libertarian boards.

Perhaps because a conversation about HOAs can lead to a fair amount of cognitive dissonance. Esp. when you start comparing and contrasting structure and outcomes to municipal zoning.

In the end, most HOAs exist because town zoning is not aggressive or restrictive enough for the property owners.

It's kind of like Lord of the Flies for property owners. Give them control of their neighbors, and pretty soon there's roving bands of savages chasing the fat kid around.

+1, Loved the visual.

Again, the difference to me is the contract. I don’t see anything wrong with them.

HOAs seem like the solution for people who want their neighborhood to “look like x” or what have you.

In my view, if you take "contract" tied to property ownership and replace it with "municipal" code tied to resident citizenship you find most distinctions fall away.

The HOA isn't a "contract" at all. It's a set of bylaws and restrictive covenants that look very much like a municipal code, and who's content is governed by state law. One comes with a property deed, the other comes with a residency. The distinctions pretty much end there.

They are both governed by elected Boards, they are both governed by state law, and they all change the rules and degree of enforcement from time to time.

But in both cases, the governed can examine the rules in advance before they move in, they know exactly what and who they are getting, and can participate in electing and petitioning the "government" over time.

Local goverment, from a property use perspective, is almost indistinguishable from an HOA.

There are certainly HOAs that are bigger, more aggressive, and more powerful than many local governments. And in the end, I can rattle off far more nightmare stories of truly renegade and "fascist" HOA's than I can of local government. (At least at the sub-urban level).

HOA’s are basically private forms of land use regulation.

It’s the markets answer to if your free to build whatever then how do we stop someone from building a pink egg house.

Well exactly. That's the irony.

HOAs were formed because property owners felt like the local government was not restrictive enough. And they are filled with people who bitch all day about restrictive governments. True story, my local golf community's HOA design regulations are longer than the local government's by a factor of 20x.

After a developer bitches to anyone and everyone about how this town won't let him do whatever he wants with his property, the very next thing he will do is form an HOA for his property, so he can tell everyone else to do with their property.

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"HOA’s are basically private forms of land use regulation."

They regulate more than land use. They regulate humans behavior too.

Pet ownership. Drinks by pool. Garage bands. Loud music. Cigarettes. All decided by the commissars.

Pet counts, compost piles, prayer flags, political yard signs, chicken coops, shade tree mechanics, satellite tv dishes, hot tubs, bedroom counts, solar panels, parking, visitors, commercial vehicles, pet leashes, trailers and RVs, fire pits, noxious smells, home based businesses, fire works, pesticide use, landscaping design, trash containers, irrigation schedule, window trim, door color, driveway materials, fireplace type, patio furniture, basketball hoops, kids toys, garage door position, trampolines, above ground pools, garden tool storage, christmas lights....

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The distinction for me I suppose is that one is a private organization with all of the internal incentive structures that come with being a private organization whereas local zoning is most certainly not.

The difference in incentives (and feedback loops) between an association of property owners and residents of a local government (which exist only as functions of the state level authority) is not a trivial one.

HOAs seem like the market solution to the problem, as Terry mentioned above.

In my state that's simply not true. State legislation has ensured that HOAs operate almost exactly like independent subdivisions of local government. There is very little difference in the rules and requirements.

HOAs are not private organizations here; they are quasi-government. They operate under rules, if you like to think of HOAs as contracts, you can think of the rules as the UCC. This was a result of reforms that responded to pubic pressure on the state to do something about the rogue and corrupt HOAs, all the horror stories you hear, where the residents felt that the enforcement was arbitrary and they had no recourse. So now HOAs have to adhere to rules about financial transparency, open meetings, fair elections, following their own rules, due process, etc. And so the are in form and essence not mini-private companies, they are mini governments.

The only difference is instead of one person; one vote, it is one parcel; one vote.

And overwhelmingly, the evidence is that when given the opportunity to protect their property investment, or their perception of what peaceful enjoyment looks like, the solution for HOA's is to control what everybody else does. Very much like what towns try and do through building and zoning control.

The distinction that HOAs are "voluntary" and somehow contractually sacred, while citizenship in a town is involuntary and without any recourse simply not does not hold water.

I can't speak to the specifics of your local or state regulations, since I don't know which laws are applicable.

It's not my understanding that HOAs are attached to the local government, but again in your state it might be different?

And overwhelmingly, the evidence is that when given the opportunity to protect their property investment, or their perception of what peaceful enjoyment looks like, the solution for HOA's is to control what everybody else does. Very much like what towns try and do through building and zoning control.

The distinction that HOAs are "voluntary" and somehow contractually sacred, while citizenship in a town is involuntary and without any recourse simply not does not hold water.

I fundamentally disagree with this strongly. Mostly for Exit, Voice, and Loyalty reasons. The set of decision makers and stakeholders is entirely different. That creates completely different incentive structures and enforcement mechanisms, which is the main difference between voluntary association rules and government law.

Imagine if there was a $1 trillion value diamond beneath a HOA neighborhood. Now imagine that diamond exists beneath a normal neighborhood.

The incentives and resolution mechanisms are entirely different. One easily allows for Cosean bargaining, the other leaves $1 trillion in the ground. Just using this as an absurd imaginary scenario to demonstrate the differences in how property value changes can work through the system Cosean vs insanity

I disagree. The defintion of what vested interest are, and who the stakeholder are, are simply broader in a town than a HOA.

HOAs deal in perceived drivers of property resale values, perceived personal aesthetic values, and personal quality of life values (i.e. quiet enjoyment). Just like towns.

One has lot owners as contituents, the other has adult citizens.

Have you ever lived in an HOA? Served on its Board? If you had, you'd know that despite the reputation as being driven by property values, the truth is: the majority of the time is spent enforcing rules about quiet enjoyment.

And you'd also know that HOA would be no better are dealing with a diamond located under one owner's lot than a town would.

Cosean is a fun theory, but that's just not how people work in the real world. There's always always selfish ignorant stubborn assholes, and not a few full-on batshit loons; and you know this.

Well, agree to strongly disagree then. But no worries.

I think it comes down to differences in choice, incentives, accountability, scale and transparency. But it is what it is.

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Except governments allow renters and riffraff a say in governance.

'zactly. only Gentlemen should be allowed to vote.

Glad you agree!

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If a new property owner could freely decide whether to join them and be subject to their rules, sure. But they should be imposed on future owners by the decisions of past owners. Imagine of your great-grandparents, now long dead, could nevertheless determine what career you could follow or who you could marry. Just say No to entailments.

Every person who moves to a town and/or an HOA gets to examine the rules and the composition of the Board members and their legislative track record. They freely decide in advance whether they want to move in on those terms. They can run of office and try and change the rules. They can get together with their neighbors, form a voting bloc, and try and influence the leaders they elected. Or they can get themselves elected. They can launch a recall. They can start a process to re-charter.

No difference between the two.

HOA's can and do change their rules just as often and as significantly as towns. Generally following the exact same democratic processes and bylaws that were published and ratified with the formation of the jurisdiction.

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I have to think about that some more. I mean, on the one hand it's perfectly reasonable to include clauses in a contract on how property can be used. On the other hand, as you say, it's not really fair to new home owners.

I think the trump card is that no one is coercing them to buy property under the jurisdiction of the HOA. Ergo they must choose to buy the property with the entailment, or choose to buy some other property. So on this, I tend to favor the HOAs.

Again, I'd never live in one. I've refused to even look at property that involves HOAs. Drove the real estate agent nuts. But I don't think their actions are morally wrong here. Stupid, in my opinion, but it's not a sin to take actions I think are stupid--and it's certainly not something I can use force to prevent.

However, no one forces you to move to a town either. That's the illogical premise you hear a lot (and see repeated here). The reality is, towns are every bit as voluntary as HOAs.

A migrant to my region can chose between a myriad of municipal towns, unincorporated counties, HOAs, and exempt subdivision regimes. From ex-urban liberal enclaves to fill-on redneck rural. All within a score or so of miles of each other and composing a massive range of regulatory characteristics to choose from. There is literaly something for everyone.

And once there, you can vote in all of them.

Exactly like an HOA. Exactly.

And all of them - towns, counties and HOAs - are constantly arguing between each other, once they put down their roots, arguing for either more or less rules.

Since you refuse to differentiate between cooperation and force, there's no further point in discussion with you.

You ignorance is glaring.

HOAs have the power to levy fines and penalties, to lien property, to foreclose properties, to deny services and access to members, to impound vehicles, to enter properties, to force construction and demolition, and to suspend a member's voting rights.

And some HOAs have armed private security forces.

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Can you provide anything better than hand waving sentence fragment assertions to make you case that:

1. Moving to an HOA is voluntary; moving to a town is not.

2. Subjecting yourself to the decisions of an elected HOA Board is cooperation; subjecting yourself to the decisions an elected Town Council is not.

3. The bylaws and covenants of an HOA are a contract; the charter and municipal code of a town are not.

4. Subsequent revisions to HOA regulations by the Board are coasean bargaining; subsequent revisions to town code by an Council is expropriation.

5. Fines, fees, foreclosure, stop work orders, and stripped voting rights assessed by an HOA Board is contract enforcement; fines, fees, and red tags issued by a town is fascism.

Please try. You'll be the first.

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Regarding HOAs, I have no problem with them in principle. If that's how folks want to live, that's their choice. Same as communes--as long as everyone agrees to the terms and conditions, that's their choice and I have zero say in it. I wouldn't live in either condition myself, and find the concept abhorrent. Then again, many people find aspects of how I live my life abhorrent. That's life in a pluralistic and free society--I have to accept that other people are going to do things that I think are moronic, and that I have no say in it.

From the folks who live in areas with HOAs that I've spoken with, the rules and regs aren't onerous to them. That's how they live their lives anyway. What the HOAs do is keep out folks who don't want to live that way. I'd find the situation horrible, but then I'm not the type of person folks living in an HOA want around anyway (large dogs, small kids, and a tendency to have swordfighting on the lawn). Both of us think we're getting the better end of this deal.

Some people like that, obviously, they seek it out. What intrigues me is many of those people chose intense minute regulation in their daily lives as the way to preserve peace and property values. Yet they turn around and bitch about government regulation.

Government regulations are in a different category from contractual obligations.

If I buy a window because you smashed it, it's very different from me buying a window because I'm adding on to my house.

That's a false premise and a false distinction. HOAs regulations are not contracts.

The rules change all the time. They can be changed without your consent, against your interests, and without any particular recourse by you. They can be changed with a simple vote of the HOA Board, or possibly a majority vote of the members (depending on the issue and bylaws).

And If a neighbor owns five lots and you own one, he can blow you away. There are numerous stories of real estate developers that hijack condo HOAs and drive the tenants out. (So, of course, after much whining by residents to government to "do something", the governments are making laws to limit that).

If you don't like the rule changes, you can fight it within certain specific democratic processes. But your challenges are only procedural, not contractual. In the end, the decision may come down that you are simply in the minority. Tough tittie. Run for office next time if you don't like it.

Bylaws = charter. Covenants = municipal code. Directors = Trustees. There's no difference between the two, just different labels and different qualifications to vote.

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Coasean bargaining!

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If folks would come up with better arguments than "You'll lower my property values" (the most common--and nearly only--argument I've heard against this argument) it would help.

I've already put in the caveat regarding inherently unsafe materials, such as nuclear material. Liability would also come into play--if I build a structure on my property that falls over and damages yours, or floods yours, or the like, I obviously owe you for the damages. However, you can't treat the potential as the actual. You can't say "I think this is unsafe, ergo you can't do to it."

Us folks don't need a better argument. You'll lower my property value is more than sufficient

Real estate is an investment. Sometimes you lose money on investments. Calling that a harm means that every time someone loses money in the stock market, gets fired, gets fined by the police, or otherwise loses value they would be able to sue.

There is NO right (under libertarian philosophy or in reason) to have an investment make money. Investments are risks. Don't want to take the risk? There's a thriving rental market.

As an aside, I'm not a libertarian. I am, however, capable of reading their arguments and presenting them coherently.

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According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, that would be a white people crime.
https://twitter.com/ByronYork/status/128337http://un-thought.blogspot.com/2233730203651?s=20

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4. I read "Poland" as "Portland" then thought to myself Trump will sic the police state on medieval castles too?

Quite frankly, that would be awesomer than hell. I mean which post-apocalyptic fanboy hasn't imagined such a scenario? The tickets would be well worth the price.

In the Willamette Valley of Oregon, as per "Dies the Fire"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dies_the_Fire

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Gotta love it.

Douglas hallucinates the word "Portland," then hallucinates that DJT is keen to "sic the police state" on things.... and tells us all about it.

This guy votes, people. Wrap your head around that.

Triggered you, didn't he?

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Will be good/interesting to see the NIH to get it's ass in gear and organise some proper COVID-19 trials. The NHS in the UK has done a *very* impressive job in this regard. The world's richest country, on the other hand, is not doing so well...

NHS is not for profit responsible for delivering health care, funded by taxpayers.

NIH is funded by taxes on customers of for profit companies that are demanding NIH give them products they can charge taxpayers high prices/profits.

In congressional hearings, drug companies were clear they will maximize profits on risky investments paid for by taxpayers because they believe they are owed high profits on taxpayer investments.

After all, why would drug companies exist if they couldn't profit off risks taxpayers paid for?

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American deaths/7 day rolling average
July 3 626/555, July 4 265/518, July 5 262/515, July 6 378/516, July 7 993/556, July 8 890/585, July 9 960/625

July 10 849/657, July 11 731/723, July 12 380/740, July 13 465/753, July 14 935/743, July 15 1002/760, July 16 963/761

July 17 946/775, July 18 813/787, July 19 412/791, July 20 545/802, July 21 1165/832, July 22 1205/862

prior, you come across as desperate and needy with these constant ankle biting attacks.

The format is kind of boring, but exactly who needs to object to knowing?

Would you engage with whether a month of increase in 7 day rolling average deaths says anything about our ability to deal with this pandemic?

He's not pointing it out because people don't know. It's his classic passive aggressive attacks against America. He obviously gloats in America's misfortune. He's a bitter expatriate.

If I started posting negative items about Canada everyday (Alex is Canadian) , would that be appropriate? Of course not. It would be trolling and obnoxious.

Well you know, when Tyler says it's not about the argument, it's about whose status is raised or lowered, this is actually an indictment of humankind.

What he's saying is (I hope) that while there serious discussions, it's an error for people to fall into them as status fights, and to lose the signal for the noise.

Precisely. prior isn't making the post to convey information for a serious discussion. He's engaging in a status fight. Where he wants to lower the status of America, this blog, etc and raise his status and often Germany's/EU's status.

Can we strip it of that, if that is the case, and consider whether a month of increase should drive policy change?

Personally I would have preferred that as the first response to the 11:36 comment. And I guess I'm the kind of guy who can ignore completely the handle under which it was posted for that reason.

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To geek out again, they are name:value pairs and the value is the interesting part.

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You are making a lot of assumptions based on nothing but a dry list of numbers. I kind of appreciate it, since compared to even ten days ago, you no longer get the (bad faith?) commenters insisting that deaths in America were declining. If it were posted in every single thread that would be irritating, but the data only appears whenever covid is mentioned. Data that unfortunately is relevant to what is actually happening. In combination with 6, those numbers are easily seen in a tragic light, as the trials should have started in February or March, not now.

There’s nothing wrong with the data.

But you’re missing about 12 years of his history trolling this blog due to his firing at George Mason University. Which is what Jwatts is referring to.

You honestly think posting data without commentary is trolling?

Judging by his intent? Yes.

I don’t really care tbh.

And how do you know the intent? I don't know the intent since it is just data, I just appreciate that it seems to have stopped all the comments insisting the number of deaths was declining in the U.S.

How do I know prior’s intent?

12+ years of reading his comments. There’s a reason his handle is banned.

But...meh ?

Strangely, this relates to an earlier discussion. I said:

(When a person says a thing, can we drop the person and understand the thing?)

I think the way human brains really work, the way AGI must really work, is that we can build fully semantic adversarial arguments and compare them .. according to the rules of the universe.

I'd say that when we are stuck on the person, we haven't achieved AGI.

A real AGI should be able to discern intent.

Should a real AGI negate truth by intent? That is, in a name:value pair can the name negate the value?

Because basically that's what I see every "that's prior!" trying to do. Rather than say "those numbers are false," or any more direct truth based adversarial argument.

There’s nothing wrong with the data.

But you’re missing about 12 years of his history trolling this blog due to his firing at George Mason University. Which is what Jwatts is referring to.

If an organization fired an employee and he then followed any high profile member of the organization for over a decade spamming both negative facts and unsupported opinions about said organization then no it does not negate the facts themselves.

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To put this another way:

Not everything the propaganda arm of the Chinese communist party says will be factually incorrect.

But you wouldn't want to train a model on that data set to get an accurate picture of life in communist China.

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How do you know that?

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So... Effing... What?

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Related, worth looking at case data for:

AZ: https://covidtracking.com/data/state/arizona#historical

FL: https://covidtracking.com/data/state/florida#historical

TX: https://covidtracking.com/data/state/texas#historical

It looks like AZ peaked a couple weeks ago, while TX and FL are peaking now. There was skepticism on here that increases wouldn't continue essentially indefinitely absent changes in policy at national level, but doesn't seem like that was necessary. State level policy and natural self preservation changes in behaviour seem sufficient, as long as the media works.

I expect this pattern to continue across the US *but* will the US be able to close borders effectively at state levels in future, or will there be a redux of this, where one region badly hit seeds the rest of the country?

I'm curious what you mean by "peaked" in AZ. I'd skip tested/cases since those are muddy and go straight for hospitalized/deaths as firmer measures. Those are still increasing.

I noticed that too. What is really disturbing is the incredibly low number of tests compared to confirmed cases - with a positivity rate of something over 10%. Hard to assign tests with cases with various time lags, but the test numbers are really, really low compared to confirmed cases.

New York was getting positivity rates of over 30% for weeks in April and early May. New Jersey too I believe.

What happened in NY and NJ showed both massive community spread and totally inadequate testing. But looking at the historical data, Arizona's testing seems to have not expanded in the least. The state positivity rate remains between 20-25% for the last 4 weeks - https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/individual-states/arizona

There should be no reason why the U.S. is incapable, months after the disaster of NY/NJ, of being able to adequately test cases, instead of missing many, many cases of community spread. This is like Italy in March in many ways.

I know people that were tested 6 times in the last month. They are very pro-mask. But they fly, they protest, they hang out with friends. And once they sin, they get a test. And they think they are wonderful people. I asked "What would happen if everyone got tested as much as you are getting tested?" and they responded "I don't know..."

If the entire country was tested 6 times in a month, that would be 1.8B tests a month we'd need.

Personally I cringe at that from the safety standpoint. Going to get tested is going to where people with the symptoms are.

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AZ's hospitalization rate clearly peaked sometime last week. New cases appeared to have peaked a couple of weeks ago. I agree that testing should be more prevalent. Though actually I think it's more of an allocation issue. IE The allocation is somewhat fixed and labs only have so much capacity. The system isn't flexible enough to reallocate to a hard hit area within a few weeks.

However, it looks like they are past the peak.

Either way we’ll know soon enough.

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@anon, of course agree that case counts have issues, and that's why skeptical of hysteria over case counts.

But I'd guess that infections have peaked as generally trust that identified cases maps to real increases in infections somewhat, over the short term, though the ratio of real:discovered infections has obviously dropped quite a bit during course of pandemic and confounds how much real increase there has recently been. I don't think positivity really tells you as much about real:discovered cases as some think (you'll get increased positivity with "better" test strategy, not just increased prevalence relative to number of tests).

As JWatts discusses, hospitalisation peaks too.

If we go by infections being better indexed by deaths, perhaps we could tenably say they could still be increasing, though I think not.

Deaths has followed the case curve so far, albeit in a massively varying ratio!, and will probably continue to do so.

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Why don't people just post their interpretations of data rather than speculate on the motives of others?

I agree with M that cases seem to be plateauing in these states that that were increasing rapidly (although deaths continue to trend upward there). To me the interesting question is what is driving the changes: delays in test results? voluntary behavior change to protect others? Voluntary behavior change to protect oneself? [And what in turn drives voluntary behavior change?] changes in state policy?

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Why not just post a link to some data visualization site?

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#2: $630K for a house is a lot of money. But OTOH it's 4 bedrooms and 1/3 of an acre. On yet another hand it's not super close to the central city; it'd be an exurb rather than a suburb in a lot of metro areas. But this is the NY metro area, I'm guessing that price is probably in the top 10% of houses nationwide for that size of house on that much land? Due to it's proximity to NYC.

With lots of that acreage, it's no surprise to read that the median household income is $116K. Stable population since 1970, 89% white, this might be a complacent community. But it might be about to become extra desirable if the novel coronavirus causes people to migrate from Manhattan.

The most famous contemporary people from Hillsdale might be Jeff Hostetler, Tyler Cowen, and David Remnick, maybe in about that order.

Bergen County is a strange place. It has several towns that are indeed NYC exurbs and that attract people who want to live in a semi-rural or small town setting but want a reasonable commute to work in either NYC or the suburban sprawl that is northern New Jersey. People in the New York metro area are used to long commutes so 25 miles is nothing to complain about. Alpine, New Jersey, home of Chris Rock and Jay-Z, is still 15 miles from Manhattan but boasts of million-dollar homes.

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Bergen County is closer than some commuters. Before Covid-19, one could go to the Rockaway Townsquare parking lot and find people boarding the bus at 5:00 a.m. to go to Wall Street. The houses may be cheaper but those commuters are paying with their time.

There's a steady stream of buses on the NJ Turnpike that run from the Poconos each morning. Also, The Hamilton and Princeton train stations are 45-50 miles from NYC, but about 12,000 people take the train in daily.

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This is blinding speed - "In an interview, NIH Director Francis Collins characterized the studies as “really well-powered, rigorously designed clinical trials.”

Can you imagine that any other nation actually organizing clinical trials just 7 months after a novel virus started spreading?

In the UK they were organized in a couple of months, and probably faster in China.

The obstacle is the unwillingness to pay workers to work which is very high in the US.

In China, paying workers faster and more is the criteria for success.

+1; The UK was so far ahead of the US in setting up large trials it was laughable.

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3. Is there a reason studies like this are written as if the intended audience is 6-year olds?

"If South Asian countries would increase rice exports without making more imports of other products possible, they could be faced with increased food shortage within their own borders," warns Charlotte Janssens." - Is there any new information in this sentence for anyone who would have any interest in reading the study?

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It seems odd that the first solar system with that level of detail would be 300 light years away. There are many closer stars. Perhaps the position of this star is just really close to the maximal resolution of the observatory.

For reference: There are many stars within 50 lightyears of Sol. This source indicates close to 2,000.

http://www.atlasoftheuniverse.com/50lys.html

The planets are very far away from the star, which means you can block out the star's light and still see the planets; the planets are huge and young (much bigger than Jupiter), so they are hot and put out a lot of infrared; the star is moving through space quickly relative to us so several years of photos can 'see' the planets moving with the star, while other suspects do not give that confirmation.

Excellent points!

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It's a first imaging for an alien " solar system" because two planets can be seen at the same time, but it's not the first direct imaging of a planet.
There have been quite a few.
Here is a paper of an imaging of a giant planet around Beta-Pictoris ( 19.4 pc from us), another young star ~ 20 Myr. This was done in 2019 using the same VLT -Sphere (Very Large Telescope’s Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research (SPHERE) instrument,
βPictoris b is ~ 13 AU from its star and ~ 11 Jupiter masses.

“The sensitivity of SPHERE allowed us to follow β Pictoris b down to 125 milli arc seconds ( mas) from the star in projected separation” . In the BetaPictoris case it’s 668 mas vs 1710 mas for TYC 8998-760-1
One image was a imaging of the the closest projected separation to the star of any planet 139 mas and ~ 1.5 AU

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1809.08354.pdf

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That's part of it. Orientation is another. If the plane of orbit is such that we're looking at the edge, we're not going to see much, just planets moving back and forth. If we're looking at it at a 90 degree angle, we'll see much more. It's the same concept as with galaxies, but on a smaller scale.

The nature of the planets comes into play as well. It's really hard to see, say, something like Mercury. Jupiter is easier to see. In general, rocky planets seem to be smaller than gas planets, so if a solar system is predominantly rocky planets they may be too small to resolve visually.

There's also dust to consider. A young solar system is going to have a lot of dust and debris, which will obscure the planets.

This is a very young system (~18 million years), but it is face on.

Face-on is the thinnest part of the dust. If it were edge-on we probably couldn't resolve much. It's a fortunate orientation for us.

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We don't know the inclination or the orbital period far as i know ( it's not listed in any related paper or database entry). This wasn't a planet discovered by the transit method or the radial velocity method ( or microlensing) but by imaging and only recently.
I think for -1 b and -1 c we only have estimates of the mass, radius, distance to the star, luminosity, photometry and surface gravity.

Yes, just estimates.

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#3 Free trade can limit hunger caused by climate change.

Why bother adding '...caused by climate change'? Isn't this something we already know and accept?

We know that, true.
But many in the progressive-socialist-pseudo-scientist complex might not. I worry this restating-of-the-obvious is really a subtle reminder to the left that they should continue to attack conservative attempts to curb trade with China and other dishonest trading partners as “racists” and “xenophobic” while in the meantime advocating for less free trade on other grounds so they don’t accidently make climate change less bad which might result in more conservatives getting elected.

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Typical case of somebody linking their pet issue to a bigger topic. IE, the Green Deal is attempting to link income redistribution to Global Warming. This is Free Traders attempting to link free trade to Global Warming.

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But "nations" without free trade have fed themselves for centuries as long as climate was stable.

Free trade being defined as trade between "nations".

But free trade is not the solution.

Region X produces food and limited durable goods, until climate changes and it can't produce food. How can it trade limited durable goods for lots of food produced in a nation that produces lots of durable goods and enough food?

What is being traded?

Unless free trade means and includes free migration.

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Because if you link something to " climate change", it becomes automatically more interesting , more publicized and less subject to critical scrutiny.
It's similar to " lack of diversity".
The ultimate paper would link one topic to both climate change and lack of diversity
Maybe something like: growing inequality caused by climate change and lack of diversity.
It looks like I am joking but I am sure someone has already written it or is planning to.

This is a thing. Despite cat's cynicism, I think it might be a true and accurate thing. Google "disparate impact of climate change on..."

(mulp misapplies ricardo's theory of comparative advantage -- the countries that become worse at growing foods will produce more of whatever-they-can and trade that for food, even if other countries produce a lot of whatever-they-can)

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Free trade can reduce hunger. Some extra hunger is caused by climate change.

There's also always the normal hunger caused by variable crop yield, difficulties of distribution, wars, poverty, and so forth.

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#4: Earlier descriptions of the endeavour also mentioned fitness centres, swimming pools, gyms, libraries and a theatre hall, reports TVN24.

Aw, that's kinda lame. I was thinking it'd be a more authentic medieval castle: audience chamber, dungeon, torture chamber, armory, ~7,000 fireplaces, etc.

"Fitness Center" might be a real estate agent's way of describing a torture chamber. I think the Chinese described their Uighur detention facilities as having fitness centers.

They now deny they exist at all. Stupid American satellite cameras!

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#6 - why has NIH been so slow to put this in place. they knew what might transpire in February and now it is late July. The UK was able to mobilize their National Health Service and has been cranking out clinical trial results. American Exceptionalism is withering at the vine.

The UK had ready-to-go datasets and cohorts through their NHS infrastructure. In the US data was being faxed to the CDC.

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#1 As the Medium post by Yuri Deigen makes clear, SARS-CoV-2 is a mashup of three viruses, the SARS-CoV chimeric virus of Shi Zhengli et al, the RaTG13 virus Shi supposedly discovered in 2013 in the wild but, unusually, only disclosed this year (thus it too may be chimeric) and a known naturally occurring pangolin virus.

Bonus trivia: in a point likely to not be understood by most readers, saying that the Covid-19 virus looks natural or looks artificial is just an appeal to authority. You can't tell anymore than you can tell if a human baby is born via IVF or not. The only definite proof whether SARS-COV-2 is natural is if you can find it in the wild or not, like they have found every single major virus that's natural except this one. Think about that.

OK, I'm thinking. So, people aren't 'natural'???

I grew up when people were classified as natural and various classes of unnatural, which due to radical leftist social change are now normalized.

One of my favorite jokes no longer works as a result:
Manager to underling: do you have an ounce of management blood?
Underling: no, my parents were married.

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Humans born via IVF aren't identifiable genetically because they're not BUILT IVF. The sex cells are combined as evolution built them to, and the genes swap per normal cellular procedures.

Manufactured viruses are different. There are telltale markers. For example, a lack of junk DNA. There are a few other things, too, but I forget them off the top of my head (been focusing on subsurface hydrology all day, so things aren't springing to mind in genetics the way they should).

This is where the line between "natural" and "artificial" can be identified in an organism--"natural" in this context means "the product of evolution" and "artificial" means "built by humans". The boundary between the two is fluid (is tweaking a gene enough? Two? Fifty?), but manufactured bioweapon viruses are going to be well past that line.

This isn't an appeal to authority. This day and age, this is undergrad-level genetics.

WTF is "BUILT IVF"? Really, what are you trying to say?
"The sex cells are combined as evolution built them to, and the genes swap per normal cellular procedures." --> are you talking about Mitosis? Meiosis?
It's rather important that you articulate yourself with specifics, as you are broaching quite an ethical issue. Artificial doesn't mean "Built by humans", it means, "assisted by humans": natural science is still there, natural reproductive process can still occur, they are just scientifically assisted. You could be potentially offending alot of people trying to have kids.

You must be a broad, to be responding with such SJW.

"Built" was capitalized for emphasis. I was saying that in-vitro fertilization doesn't involve constructing the DNA of the organism.

As for the rest, you're clearly either woefully ignorant of modern genetics, or are not arguing honestly. Yes, I fully understand that humans are using naturally-occurring systems to build viruses. I was specifically talking about the manufacturing of organisms, however, which can, in this context, be termed "artificial". These organisms only exist because of human intervention--and they carry specific identifiable markers indicating this, making them easy to identify.

We're talking about whether to put this virus into the "evolved in the wild" bin or the "manufactured in the lab" bin. Ray Lopez wants us to consider any virus for which we do not have a complete history to be placed in the "manufactured in the lab" bin. I'm arguing for the opposite.

Thank you for your clarification and your consideration of the word "artificial". I would still be careful generalizing the "manufacturing of organisms" to the field of "IVF"; the implications and inherent processes for each are type of "manufacturing" are different and species-specific, if you will. While IVF may not may involve active genetic scripting or "building" of DNA; it actually circumvents that process with more robust genetic products, perhaps, by that time are "built", as you say before conception or "swapping". You sound like an astute scientist, and I'd like to read more, but perhaps with more clarity. Thank you.

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"Humans born via IVF aren't identifiable genetically..."
Uhhhhhh, huh? Please, say more

Maybe there are a few types that can be identified--CRISPR and the like--but in general in vitro fertilization uses sex cells from two humans and combines them. This is a very different process from building DNA. Humans don't build DNA in a way that mimics evolution; we don't make it as messy, we don't include the junk DNA. We humans approach DNA in largely the same way we approach computers, while evolution was a very, very, VERY inefficient and messy process. When you examine the genetic code, these differences are apparent.

There are ways to hide them, sure. You can splice DNA from different organisms and intentionally include junk DNA, for example. But given how we splice DNA--and the fact that we have a pretty good database of genetics for a wide range of organisms--this is still something we can identify. A jellyfish gene in a watermellon is going to stand out. Splicing between similar organisms (say, two different families of jellyfish) are going to be trickier to identify, obviously.

I'm honestly not sure why this is controversial. This is like saying that a geologist can differentiate between a naturally-occurring rock and concrete.

I think it may be offensive if people think you're comparing rocks and concrete to humans, as in a geneticist can easily recognize the different between a "natural" versus "artificial" human.

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You spelled watermelon wrong.

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@Dimwit - sorry my long post got lost in the ether, posting via a proxy server, let me turn it off...OK as you say, junk DNA can be stripped out by a human when building DNA but, I would argue, it doesn't have to be, and as Anon says the lines between natural and artificial are blurred. The Anderson et al March 26, 2020 Nature Medicine paper is making the same "appeal to authority" argument that you are, saying a competent gene jockey would not make the SARS-CoV-2 furin cleavage site as "inefficient" at invading human cells as it appears now. This is just an appeal to authority Put another way, what part of the Yuri Deigin Medium article is disagreeable? Again, the definite proof of natural vs artificial is the presence of an intermediate host in the wild. It's not been found. You could argue it will be found a decade from now, like it was for Ebola or HIV/AIDS, or three years from now, like it was for Lassavirus, but it was not immediately found like it was for MERS, SARS, Reston Ebola, Legionnaires disease virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus and a host of others. That's a red flag to a long list of other red flags. Time to hit the Enter key and see if this posts...

Thank you all for demonstrating the level of intellectual discourse on this blog. Between the willful ignoring of my point, the infantile behavior ("Dimwit"? Really? You can't even use my username?!), and the general refusal to actually research a topic before spouting off nonsense, I don't see any point in continuing this discussion.

That this sort of thing is allowed in the comments section either demonstrates that the owner of the blog lacks intellectual rigor himself, or that he simply doesn't give a rat's behind about this section and leaves it to the trolls, conspiracy theorists, and other internet dregs.

DInwar, I actually don't think you're a Dimwit. I think you're a smart dude.

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"Manufactured viruses are different. There are telltale markers. For example, a lack of junk DNA."

Dinwar, what you are saying is that Covid19 is not genetically engineered. It could still be lab cultured.

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I have an IVF dog. And he says you're being very ruff!

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I am still waiting for the new conventional wisdom about what is happening to emerge, and I believe it will be as follows.

A particular ancestral betacoronavirus emerged in bats several decades ago with a special superpower, different from but conceptually not too distinct from HIV’s ability to rapidly mutate. This virus had the ability to easily spread out among many animal species and evolve among them through a standard slow process of mutation subject to selection pressures, but then to occasionally co-infect a single host and recombine to create a radically different variant (a “chimera,” although I think it’s better thought of as an “offspring.”). These offspring would occasionally be very deadly because they combined well-developed abilities that had evolved in separate lineages from the original ancestor evolving in separate species.

Eventually I think we will categorize all the recent betacoronavirus outbreaks (Sars-1, Sars-2, MERS) as part of this broader process, and require a vaccination strategy that can be quickly deployed against new recombinations from this original ancestral betacoronavirus as they randomly emerge from the primordial stew across many animal species, including ours. The evidence thus far points to recombinations resulting in the emergence of a distinct dangerous variant with some regularity.

This story also explains the existence of some preexisting immunity in much of the population to Sars-Cov-2, but substantial variation in what feature of Sars-Cov-2’s genetic code the immune system reacts to depending on whether the individual is known to have had SARS, MERS, or neither. In all likelihood, possibly many relatively nonlethal or even asymptomatic variants of the same betacoronavirus ancestor have been circulating undetected among human populations during this same 10-20 years, resulting in people people who have been exposed to different random bits of genetic material present in Sars-Cov-2.

Nice theory, even plausible. However, until they find an animal intermediate host, SARS-CoV-2 must be considered man-made.

Bonus trivia: actually--I hate to shock people--but the fact remains they still have not definitively shown HIV/AIDS virus to have an animal host (very strong evidence it arose in chimps, but chimp HIV/AIDS virus is slightly different than for humans). So, technically--though I don't actually believe this myself--those conspiracy nuts that think HIV/AIDs was designed in a government lab to torment people cannot be dismissed outright. I give it a 1:1M chance (there's a very tiny chance HIV/AIDS escaped from a bioweapons plant such as the US Army's Ft. Detrick, MD BSL-4 lab)

Is that really definitive? Once the possibility of random recombinations is considered, all kinds of weird paths could both be conceived and be difficult to track through sequencing.

Here’s a very simple one (I don’t know enough about sequencing to know whether existing evidence already suggests it to be false). Around 20 years ago an ancestral betacoronavirus jumped from bats to humans undetected, in a well-known location quite distant from Wuhan. Over time, this virus slowly evolved through human-to-human transmission to be exceptionally transmissible through the upper respiratory track; but either gave minor symptoms identical to a common cold, or no symptoms at all.

Meanwhile in parallel around the same time, the ancestral coronavirus also jumps from bats to pangolins, where it goes on an entirely separate evolutionary track over the intervening years. Whatever evolutionary pressures are placed on the virus among pangolins, they cause it to evolve in a way that, by happenstance, is also extremely deadly to humans (but does not facilitate transmission). Perhaps something about the spike protein.

Then winter 2019 arrives. In a busy seafood market in Wuhan, a pangolin butcher comes to work infected with the highly transmissible but exceptionally mild betacoronavirus that has circulated and evolved undetected among humans for decades. In the process of butchering a pangolin, they are heavily exposed to the very different descendent of the ancestral coronavirus that evolved among pangolins, and is both deadly and difficult to catch.But, bathing oneself in pangolin blood is enough to do the job. This butcher’s cells then become simultaneously co-infected with the two very-distinct betacoronaviruses, and they recombine to create an "offspring" virus with some genetic code that is deadly to humans, and other genetic code that facilitates transmission among them. The butcher becomes patient 0.

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tldr; a pandemic-causing virus need not have a single animal host at all. It could have been uniquely created in a human co-infected with two distinct animal coronaviruses through a recombination event.

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That's not how this works. We do not need a full, unbroken chain from Creation to extant critter in order to know something evolved. Manufactured viruses are zebras, not horses, and you can't make zebras the null hypothesis.

Bear in mind, there are some fairly obvious markers in the genetic structure of engineered organisms. The data isn't hard to find, not for a modern genetics lab. Evolution is messy, and humans haven't learned to replicate that messiness yet.

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if indeed SARS-CoV-2 originates from a RATG13 genome with Its RBM substituted from the pangolin MP789 by a recombination event with two virus strains coexisting in the same host , it will be difficult to know:
1. If this happened in WIV with accidental release , because the evidence would have been destroyed there by now by Chinese authorities.

2. If this happened in a wet market where a Rhinolophus affinis bat and a pangolin may have been caged close together when the two viruses ended up into one species.
. Not sure if their coexistence at the Wuhan market is known. At any rate because this recombination event may have been very recent and a lot of these animals were destroyed, the evidence may not be found in the wild ( because it may not have occurred there) or anywhere.

As I speculated both by example and in generality, to fully appreciate the potential implications of relatively frequent recombination, you have to allow for the recombination events occurring in a human host,
and in addition the possibility that the two parent viruses crossed over to humans at very different times. Indeed, several have noted the peculiar adaptability of sars-cov-2 to human transmission. If the recombination story is correct, this suggest that at least the portion of SARS-cov-2 responsible for its transmissibility had a parent virus circulating via human to human transmission for some time.

For the two infections at different times in humans you have to assume the first coronavirus persists in humans ( like in bats). There is no evidence of that. People get infected , clear the virus and recover or die.
None of the known CoVs are known to persist in humans.
In bats many viruses persist, that's why they are a reservoir.
There are latent viruses in humans , a lot of them from the herpes family but they’re not coronaviruses.
A virus like HIV can persist. Its viral double stranded DNA enters the nucleus of a CD4 T cell, and a viral integrase enzyme inserts its genome almost randomly into a host chromosome.
There it goes quiescent forming a latent reservoir until the virus goes lytic again.

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Thanks to Catinthehat, Anon, Dinwar; I've screen scraped this conversation for my notes. This is not the right forum for discussion since Wordpress is messy, like natural evolution!

Final thoughts: what do the Chinese have to hide? Why the destruction of evidence and coverup? And as for expert opinions, in the USA, speaking as a failed law school person who has done patent stuff, including litigation, now retired, I know about the Third Law of Litigation: for every expert, there's an equal and opposite expert. I would match Dinwar with Catinthehat, in the same way DOJ used Robert Bork, notoriously against antitrust, to testify *against* Microsoft's case (you know they did that on purpose, to mess with MSFT's mind; didn't work MSFT won, but Bork got blasted for compromising his principles for money). In law, destruction of evidence is often AUTOMATIC GROUNDS for summary judgement against the party destroying evidence (i.e., China would lose). Likewise in US criminal law, flight from the scene of a crime is strong evidence of guilt (that's why you should dial 9-1-1 if you run over a person, and in theory stop at the scene, despite the distraught next-of-kin that might be at the scene). And at some point, despite Anon's theory about recombination events occurring uniquely in a Wuhan wet market butcher (I've heard in an unsourced claim BTW that neither pangolin nor bats were sold at said market, but these animals were used by Shi's WIV, which had an adjunct facility right next to this wet market, used for transporting lab animals, and one former WIV worker claims, incredibly to our Western ears but maybe not to Asian ears, that WIV lab animals were sold to the wet market for human consumption, presumably these animals not being bats or pangolins, but we'll never know as the Chinese destroyed the wet market), you have to admit that it's unlikely so many coincidences happened in one place. Ockham's razor points to a simple lab accident (in a credible article it's been pointed out that SARS-COV has escaped four times from labs, including BSL-4 labs in Singapore and Taiwan, so a BSL-4 lab can leak pathogens).

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I remain confused by the claim that the "wet market" story or something like it requires an unlikely confluence of events, or that one of the parent viruses has to "persist" in a host (like HIV) to get the sequence of events.

Why could not one one of the two parent virus in the recombination story (the one responsible for extreme transmissibility) simply have been actively circulating among humans for a decade in the normal manner of any virus, undetected because its observable effects were mild or nonexistent, so nobody looked. If this is the origin of one of the two parent viruses, then there may have been many instances in which an individual human already infected with this commonly circulating parent was randomly co-infected with a second animal coronavirus, randomly generating nonviable or nonthreatening offspring viruses until one, by happenstance, happened to hit the right combination of lethality and transmissibility.

One additional point to this argument. We already *know* for scientific fact that many individuals have a T cell response to SARS-Cov-2 who have no known exposure to SARS or MERS. The science also suggests that these individuals are responding to a portion of the virus that is *not* common between SARS-Cov-2 and the known circulating "common cold" betacoronaviruses. This clearly implicates exposure by a substantial number of individuals to an unidentified coronavirus, so there strikes me as only three possible sources of this exposure: (1) unknowing SARS or MERS infection (unlikely), (2) random exposure to many different harmless (to humans) coronaviruses circulating among pets and livestock, or (3) the existence of a parent virus to SARS-Cov-2 that circulated undetected, and which remains unidentified because it differs substantially from SARS-Cov-2 (having created it through a recombination event rather than mutation).

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2) So if that's Tyler's old town did the NYT story spark a Gell-Mann attack?

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#3 "Free trade can limit hunger caused by climate change."

Change it to: "Free trade can limit hunger caused by climate change for those who refuse to wear masks," and it would be almost an Onion headline

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In field rats, a highly popular animal to eat in Vietnam and neighboring countries, the percentage that tested positive for at least one of six different coronaviruses jumped significantly. It increased from 20 percent of wild-caught rats sold by traders, to slightly more than 30 percent at large markets, the next step in the supply chain, to 55 percent of rats sold in restaurants that tested positive.

In other words, the odds were about even that a field rat on the plate was infected with some kind of coronavirus.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/science/coronavirus-rats-vietnam.html?surface=home-discovery-vi-prg&fellback=false&req_id=382049517&algo=identity&imp_id=368688384&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage

I am guessing Covid-19 was not among the CoVs carried by these rats but it would be good to know.

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did anybody catch todays pelosi babble
its mostly circular

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The castle reminds me of this project that featured in the British TV Show Grand Designs. They buy built the entire thing hidden by hay stacks.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3624516/Reduced-rubble-Secret-Tudor-castle-centre-planning-row-finally-demolished-nine-years.html

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Is #5 of interest because it's an obvious fraud?

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#6 I hope something knocks deaths and hospitalizations down enough hat we can reopen. I'd say an 80% reduction in both.

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3. “hunger caused by global warming “

Have these people no shame?

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I've been trying to push (for both food security and carbon impact) the concept of "ecological comparative advantage", i.e. that for maximum food production and food security different regions should specialize in the crops that grow best there and exchange on free global markets. With the financial and carbon cost of transportation of food at negligible levels, this just makes sense. But we have ecological mercantilists who are pushing "buy local" without looking at the actual efficacy.

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Not to worry. Since it's Poland, the castle will likely catch fire, fall over, and sink into the swamp.

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# 3 How could it NOT?

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