Wednesday assorted links

Comments

#2 Is there any article about the rules of "Safe for Work" during stay-at-home orders?

And seriously, at what point can Tyler go fuck himself?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

6. Or, the at-risk population has largely succumbed . . .

Un, don't think so. So far, 4% of the care homes population in the US has died. Lots more to go!

That is 0.4% (or is it 4%? - 13 million?) of the population is in long term care facilities and represent 50% of the China virus deaths in NJ and NY, which states' deaths are higher than all but two countries on the Planet. The rest of the US was better at protecting that vulnerable populations, i.e., didn't send old, China positive people into NJ/NY nursing homes,

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

More likely, in conjunction with the paper, the hotter weather and better precautions are reducing viral loads and thus the severity.

So, at-risk populations have better protection, their staff are taking more precautions and nobody is forcing recovering Covid patients into nursing homes.

All of that reduces viral loads which results in milder cases.

Respond

Add Comment

Patience, grasshopper. The deaths follow the cases; we all know this. Come back in a month with theories.
We've already buried "it will go away in summer", "It doesn't spread in warm climates" and "vitamin D reduces susceptibility". We're still working on "there are no long term effects" and several others.

don't worry, they'll keep trying.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

4. UN population projections have consistently been a bit too high. I suspect human population will max out and fall even quicker than in this population model because African fertility won’t stay so high forever. Either Africa will industrialize and see the demographic transition through to a low-fertility steady state just like every other country, or it will hit Malthusian limits before it gets to the population numbers projected by IHME. For instance, Nigeria with 791 million people would be almost as dense as Bangladesh (and probably more dense if excluding desert portions of Nigeria).

Whether developed countries’ fertility will rebound or stabilize is a harder question. Certainly we’re not seeing a rebound in developed East Asia, which has had low fertility for decades now. One under-appreciated factor in falling fertility is that people’s desire for reproduction tends to fall when they live in areas of high population density (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11111-007-0037-6). This makes very good evolutionary sense. If population declines in a country overall but people remain concentrated in urban centers, I’d expect fertility not to rebound. But if the urban centers themselves depopulate, then a fertility rebound is less unlikely.

Any articles or books you can suggest on a link between population density and fertility rates? It makes intuitive sense, any empirical studies?

Joel Kotkin wrote a long article for some conference on major determinants of fertility, including living space. Look for his stuff.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

If the productivity growth rate doesn’t start doubling, then the long term demographics trends of developed nations mean the entire retirement system apparatus (and national debt) is completely insolvent.

Should be a fun ride.

"Should be a fun ride."

Oh, it will be.

Respond

Add Comment

"...trends of developed nations mean the entire retirement system apparatus (and national debt) is completely insolvent."

Oooooh boy we didn't need demographic and population growth to know that, but it helps. Hint: Even with population growth - maybe even double - the entire retirement system is still completely insolvent. Hint #2: They know this already.

Where have all the quarters gone?
Long time de-basing
Where have all the quarters gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the quarters gone?
The Fed has pulled the, every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Respond

Add Comment

If I recommended a product that had been hand soldered people would laugh in my face. Then they'd kick me to the ground and spit on me. They want products that are cheap and can last a minimum of 25 years and humans just aren't part of manufacturing that can produce products with that low cost and that sort of reliability.

Respond

Add Comment

I have no idea why people are worried about falling populations. All of the problems seem to revolve around money, not resources. To start with, in an aging world with a shrinking or stagnant population, there would be a lot fewer children, so the total percentage of the population working would not change very much. Some how or another, developed nations have survived without child labor despite the predictions of disaster. Our current society's problem, even pre-COVID, seems to be more a lack of jobs than a surfeit.

We would have to shift some resources from children to old people. Most developed nations already have programs for both, though the ones for old people are usually more generous. This shift is extremely unlikely to destroy a nation. It may screw up the financial system which is predicated on certain profit making activities, but financial systems are all about paper and accounting, not getting people fed, housed, clothed and cared for.

There are only so many alternatives. The simple fact is that the working population, paid or unpaid, provides itself and the non-working population with goods and services. That's a tautology. If the population is growing, more children have to be subsidized than old people, but every generation will face higher and higher population pressures. If 691 million Nigerians sounds scary, consider 1.382 billion or 2.764 billion. Lagos is going to get very crowded. This isn't just a mathematical exercise. It's a definition. If something continues to grow, it keeps getting larger.

If the population shrinks, the ratio of young to old changes, but the ratio of people to resources falls. That means there would have to be economic adjustments in the way resources are allocated, but there would be less pressure on external resources.

If you can think of an alternative aside from growing, shrinking or remaining the same, I'd love to read it.

Zero sum.

The reason for "lack of jobs" is current economic theory is based on pillage and plunder free lunch, not zero sum, sustainable Keynes/Adam Smith.

Cut population in half and you cut the consumption in half cutting labor in half, unless you revert to Keynes.

Which becomes harder when falling population creates a surplus of decaying, obsolete capital.

Consider how today's dominant economic ideology argues paying workers a living wage, or government welfare equal to live income will result in workers being replaced by robots.

What that means is either the 2% of the population that owns the robots huy 100% of what robots produce because no one else has money because there are no workers, or everything is free, as iin the price is zero, or government prints and helicopter drops cash equal to total price the 2% who own robots demand.

The places with lots of idle or underutilized workers have low consumption, unsustainable rising debt, or both.

Zero sum.

(I'm a physicist, scientist, engineer, and try as economists do, physics always wins.)

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

+1, good post

"But if the urban centers themselves depopulate, then a fertility rebound is less unlikely."

However, historically urban centers have had a net negative fertility rate, kept refreshed from constant incursions of population from rural agricultural areas.

Excellent point. You can't keep them down on the farm...

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

From link 7:
“The evolution of this virus to become a human pathogen may have already happened and we missed it,” Rasmussen says.
Wang thinks a version of the virus may have circulated earlier in humans in southern Asia, perhaps flying under the radar because it didn’t cause severe disease.

From link 5:
Even though we cannot exclude that some SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells might be naive or induced by completely unrelated pathogens, this finding suggests that other presently unknown coronaviruses, possibly of animal origin, might induce cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cells in the general population.

These new findings may be the leading candidate to answer the questions in your previous post:

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/07/southeast-asia-coronavirus-update.html

Meaning "policy" may have had very little to do with the impact on each country. Or at least, much less than is currently supposed.

As some of us have been jumping up and down about since early April.

It has gotten tiring reading about how well countries have done or how they failed at some critical point because they didn't do x, y and / or z.

The official policy will be the main if not only focus. Meanwhile, in the real world, what will matter is how actual individuals acted.

Falsifiable hypothesis: even in NYC where the poorest ethnic group is Asian, Asians will have the lowest fatality rate. Because of their individual actions.

This will never be a headline.

Most Asians in NYC are Asian Americans and if there was a version of coronavirus that swept through Asia long time ago, then second, third and fourth generation Asian Americans wouldn't have been positively affected.

If the ancestral covid strain was concentrated in South China and Indochina, and swept through the region relatively recently (say 1-2 decades ago), almost no Asian Americans would have immunity.

Respond

Add Comment

Many Asians in NYC are Chinese, and when the word came out of Wuhan in January, they started wearing masks and shutting down businesses. Main Street, a major Chinese hub, in Flushing, was a ghost town well before any lock down orders. This is about being plugged into news from the old country, being scared of epidemic disease and being willing to fight rationally against it. It has little to do with genetics or prior exposure.

Of course previous exposure *might* explain a lot but hasn't been shown. How did the Japanese do almost nothing until the first emergency was declared on April 7 and test less than any OECD country yet have 50 times fewer deaths than the US and Western Europe?

Asian Americans have had 8% fewer covid 19 deaths than whites in NYC and many were not first generation.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

In the UK data, Chinese looked non-significantly different from White majority (after adjustment for age and location) - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/coronavirusrelateddeathsbyethnicgroupenglandandwales/2march2020to10april2020

More recent version - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/coronaviruscovid19relateddeathsbyethnicgroupenglandandwales/2march2020to15may2020

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"Even though we cannot exclude that some SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells might be naive or induced by completely unrelated pathogens, this finding suggests that other presently unknown coronaviruses, possibly of animal origin, might induce cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cells in the general population."

Crazy question -- has anyone looked at the correlation between pet ownership and Covid morbidity/mortality?

Unsure if serious.

How many pet owners keep bat colonies in their yard?

uh, dogs and cats can be infected with coronaviruses

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

That would be interesting. Pet owners are less likely to be allergic. Maybe allergies have something to do with susceptibility. Smokers being less effected was a surprise.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

5) Does the chart showing "reactivity" of common cold coronavirus antibodies mean something like: children are frequently exposed to a ton of common cold viruses and thus this explains their low infection rate / fatality rate as their immune systems are putting up some response to SARS-CoV-2? Good news for schools I would think, if true. And good news for parents of young children as I know that I get every virus my kid brings home anyways..

The paper is careful not to draw any hard conclusion. It suggests that T cell immunity exists in recovered patients and in 50% of unexposed patients .The epitope targets between the two are a little different. The unexposed target primarily non structural protein and the recovered structural proteins.
For the case of Sars-CoV1 this reactivity is long lasting.
This bodes well: we can likely assume that:
1- recovered patients will not get re-infected or will mount a much more robust T cell response next time around.
2- There is some native quasi immunity in the population, perhaps due to priming from exposure to the other human Coronaviruses.
As regards to children , there is good evidence that they have lower susceptibility and lower transmissibility. This could just be because their T-cell responses are generally more robust as the number of naïve T cells declines with age.

Crazy question - has anyone looked at the correlation between pet ownership and Covid morbidity/mortality?

The paper seems to say that a bunch of regular people who don't work in bat caves are having a T-Cell response to Covid, but it doesn't look like the response is resulting from exposure to the documented "common cold" human coronaviruses. So then, what else is there? Either undocumented human coronaviruses (perhaps asymptomatic), or coronaviruses from animals we are frequently in contact with.

There are 7 human Coronaviruses. Four cause 20 to 25% of all colds (HCoV-229, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-HKU1);
3 are the well known dangerous ones ( MERS, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2)
For the known animal Coronaviruses ( 14)
• 3 affect pigs
• 2 affect cats
• 1 affect dogs
• 1 affect rabbits
• 1 affect mice
• 1 affects rats and pigs
• 2 affect cattle
• 1 affect chickens
• 1 affect turkeys
• 1 affect civet cats and racoon dogs
The Dog Cov attacks the intestine and is not transmissible to humans. The two feline CoVs are not known to have infected any veterinarians. The assumption is that it is not transmissible to humans. It is thought that transmission between cats can only occur through biting
There you have it, the Human HCovs are the most likely source of exposure to coronaviruses for most of the population. They are not rare and do cause colds.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#1 twitter is the great equalizer, it makes high status people as open to criticism the rest. I'm not an expert but my guess is that there is some psychological thing going with twitter, the feeling that you're talking to your captive audience(or friends) when in reality you're exposing yourself to the world: other cultures, other feelings, other things.

twitter is not having dinner with your friends, or talking during the coffee break with your job colleagues. twitter is talking to random people on street, while they do their shopping, or work or whatever. twitter is talking to stranger, that's a feature, not a bug. so, learn to talk to strangers, learn to talk to people with a background completely different to yours, because they'll never get the damned joke.

All that is true.

Don't do the 'crime' if you can't do the time.

My son's brother-in-law is gay. We attended the his-and-his engagement party; and they're moving into our neighborhood. When (four years ago) I was about to meet the brother-in-law at my son's engagement party, the youth warned me, "Please, no gay jokes, Dad." I was disappointed. As if I would do such a thing in polite company. He is family now.

In conclusion, Defund The Twitter Police (more akin to the Spanish Inquisition than contemporary police).

Respond

Add Comment

Twitter is not the "person on the street". Heavy users of this website are journalists, public figures, and mostly narcissists. Well adjusted people stay off Twitter (with notable exceptions such as our dear host).

That's absolutely right. This is why I expected Twitter to move to a more exclusive model like Facebook's. They could charge users to tweet to more than a small group and limit free tier users from tweeting too often or too widely.

The elite have unpopular views, but feel entitled to dispensing them without comment by their inferiors. Twitter as it stands allows such comments. It's like showing up at a Belle Epoque theater. One either has to develop a thick skin or hire one's own claque of sycophants.

In fact, Twitter's effect is just the opposite. The 'elite' (as far as I can make out) will quickly perceive when a thing is a waste of time. They'll never read 'their inferiors'. But these inferiors have been granted a great hope of access to the elite, so they vie to be noticed. The upshot is (a) that the elite are as independent as ever, with a new vehicle and a greater reach, and therefore greater power, and (b) the inferiors are more lost than ever, because quickened with new hopes for the attention of their beloveds.

For Plato, man generally lives in the middle realm between appetite and reason. The middle realm is a set of forces of appearance, opinion, honour, and love (the non-spiritual kind). Twitter is a sort of middle realm gasoline. It neither solves an age-old problem nor births a new one, but makes the sound-and-fury show hotter, brighter, and harder to escape.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Here's a new paper, and good news:
“[E]ven if children do get infected, they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults. We have not found a single instance of a child infecting parents.“

https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa2006100?articleTools=true

Good tldr https://twitter.com/NahasNewman/status/1282048669374701573

However, no clue how old her child was, and the results are not necessarily 100% proof. But due to the lag in testing, the first positive test was for the child, followed later by the parents.

'After attending a funeral, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and her family got tested June 29 as a precaution. No one in her family had developed symptoms.

A week later, her test results still hadn’t come back, but her husband started feeling ill. So they got a different, rapid test through Emory University. Within hours, Bottoms learned that she, her husband and one of the couple’s four children had become infected.

It wasn’t until the next day that their initial test results arrived. They showed that when the family first got tested, only one of them, a child, had the virus. While they waited for their test results, the boy possibly passed it to his parents.'

That's not from the Icelandic study, and doesn't show where the infection came from.

The study I linked to: "The study isolated SARS-CoV-2 samples from every positive case, sequenced genome of virus, and tracked the mutation patterns.

This analysis, along with contact tracing, allowed the authors to identify definitively who passed the virus to whom."

A tad more scientific.

Actually, no. It's scientific. One of the tests could have been a false negative, so it is inconclusive. Right now, N=1, but our testing coverage and tracking is so poor, it is possible that such transmission is quite common, but rarely apparent.

Respond

Add Comment

And if the US was like Australia, genomic testing would establish whether the child was the (most likely) source of infection.

<>

So much for the data for some reason.

Genomic testing indicates the strain of coronavirus causing a large cluster at a hotel in Sydney’s south-west came from Victoria, the New South Wales deputy premier says.

The Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula has now grown to 30 cases, 14 of those from people who attended the pub.

John Barilaro on Wednesday said genomic testing of the virus circulating in Casula found links to a strain from Victoria, where hundreds of new Covid-19 cases are being reported each day.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"Netherlands. A report by the ministry of health in the Netherlands, based on extensive contact tracing data, also found almost no disease spread by infected patients 20 and under at all.

The authors of the study concluded:
11/ “Data from the Netherlands confirms . . . children play a minor role in the spread of the novel coronavirus. The virus is mainly spread between adults and from adult family members to children. The spread of COVID-19 among children or from children to adults is less common.”

So the mayor or her husband likely gave it to the kid.

Also from same tweet thread: "Ireland. Researchers compared infected children with infected adults.

Despite identifying a total of 722 contacts for the infected children, the study found not a single instance of an infected child passing on the virus."

Off to school they go.

Thanks for that Twitter thread. It even specifically says beware people leading with anecdote and ignoring these datasets (from Iceland and Netherlands) and look what pops up, some anecdote about the Atlanta mayor! lol

Most countries have testing programs that do not involve such long lags as what happened in a prominently reported case in Atlanta. It is the testing results that establish the child was infected first. The results do not prove the child infected the parents, however.

Respond

Add Comment

Nearly 1 in 3 Florida children screened for the novel coronavirus have tested positive, according to data published by the state, spurring fears about the virus’s little-understood impact on young people and asymptomatic spread.

Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County’s health department director, raised concerns at a county commission meeting Tuesday about potential long-term effects on children that may not have emerged yet.

More than 17,073 children have tested positive for the virus in Florida by July 9, according to the state’s data. At least 213 have been hospitalized with coronavirus-related symptoms, and four children have died. Thousands of others have not shown any symptoms at all, but doctors still have concerns for those infected kids.

“They are seeing there is damage to the lungs in these asymptomatic children. … We don’t know how that is going to manifest a year from now or two years from now,” Alonso said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Is that child going to have chronic pulmonary problems or not?”

Maybe not a single one of those more than 17,073 children passed the disease on, but thanks to Florida providing a natural experiment, we will certainly get better data than provided by other countries.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Not according to the testing results, where the first person infected in the household was a child. It is still possible the child did not infect the parents, but using the June 29 test results, that arrived only after a second test, the child was infected first.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I retake the story of Niall Ferguson from the WP link. If the stereotypical uncle have said homosexuality affected whatever, no problem to tell my uncle is an idiot. But Mr. Ferguson expected special treatment, to be treated differently when twitter is the great equalizer. No one is going to try to contextualize a tweet, never, ever. No one cares who Mr. Ferguson is, he said an idiotic thing, get the idiot treatment.

To end in a positive note, twitter is teaching people how to behave in bar to avoid ending the night with a fight.

PS. twitter may be teaching us the US monoculture was a myth. the others were always there, but they didn't get upset at my jokes because they were not part of the country club. but today the others can read you, so keep using twitter or go back to the country club?

Respond

Add Comment

Playboy has always featured weirdly good, progressive, and sometimes straight up intellectual writing.

Yup, only read it for the articles; that's what they all say. ;-)

Respond

Add Comment

Photos of female nipples were what granpa and granma moral panicked about. It's like the obsession today over if what's in someone's pants matches the way they behave. Playboy didn't really have the option of being regressive.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

1. With the resignation of Bari Weiss, the raw power of Silicon Valley was on fully display. Social media and its organized groups are able to influence to a great degree the personnel of a major news organization like the New York Times. A coup basically without firing a single shot. This is why the fight between traditional media and Silicon Valley has been growing nastier and nastier with tech companies mobilizing their mobs and East Coast establishments trying to drum up anti-trust action and pressure tech to adopt more stringent speech codes.

To be upfront, I'm not a fan of the "loudest voice wins" of social media, especially Twitter, but neither am I a fan of the selection of stories coming from mainstream media which are predictably "Trump is good/bad." But both tech and media are seeing record ad dollars and subscriptions so maybe I'm the odd one out. Is it wrong for me to say our system is incentivizing the wrong things?

While the coastal elites feud with each other, I worry that the rest of the country just sees all this as a sign of detachment of those in power from the people they are supposed to serve. A soaring stock market where a tiny fraction of Americans hold most of their wealth yet seems untethered to reality is another barometer of the disconnect especially when the majority of Americans have their future earnings in the form of labor which is not doing so well in the pandemic.

These are heady and confusing times.

Indeed, the news media has a financial incentive to feed the outrage machine. They profit by feeding "red meat" to their respective reader bases who are hungry to confirm their existing biases. From left-leaning media, it's an endless stream of stories about Orange Man Bad. From right-leaning media, it's stories about boogeymen (boogeypeople?) du jour such as AOC, antifa, and Hillary Clinton. In both cases, they are raking in money from banner ad impressions. With every passing day they harm the world a little bit more, but I imagine it's hard for them to pass up the easy money and focus on serious journalism instead.

Respond

Add Comment

I don't think it is the raw power of Silicon Valley as such. Their problem is that Trump found a way to talk to the voters that by passes the deadwood media. So they are under pressure to make sure that does not happen.

What they have chosen to do, among other things, is to hand control over to some vicious online bullies. Fully Woke self-righteous bullies but bullies none the less.

So all the things they said they did not like before 2016, they have embraced. There is little difference between a massive pile on shaming someone for putting their pet in a sombrero and a massive pile one because someone has put on 5 kgs.

In the old days they would have banned both.

The interesting question is whether they will go back to normal if Biden wins - I think not - but best of all is what they will do if Trump wins. That alone is reason to vote for the Orange Man

Trump's real strength is not social media - it is Fox News. That is why the idea that Russian intervention made a big difference never made sense. The Twitter wars mostly take place between small groups of hardened cadres who are fairly irrelevant, as neither side would ever change their mind. Facebook amplifies Fox News to some extent, but would be irrelevant without Fox. Fox is how Trump reaches the millions of low-information voters who simply vote for him on trust.

What?

Explain how Fox, consistently rated better for truth than any other TV network, is worse than CNN/co?

Is it because it isn't explicitly left-wing?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

The mucus layer provides an essential first host barrier to inhaled pathogens. The respiratory mucus is a gel that contains a high percentage of water The relative humidity influences its viscosity, spinnability and ability to act as a filtration barrier.
It has been shown in dogs that the inhalation of dry air decreases the spinnability of the gel mucus which, in parallel, induces a decreased mucociliary transport reducing its effectiveness.
An increased clearance of the virus by the respiratory mucus due to higher humidity could result in a less severe infection, typically one limited to the upper respiratory tract only.
The paper links this to a reduced fatality rate in higher temperature/higher humidity countries where AC is not common. I think it’s believable

Respond

Add Comment

I've been predicting what would go wrong with Twitter since 1973.

The horrible things is that I think you are telling the unvarnished truth.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Surprised no comment on this article on the NBA bubble's weakest point--no sex for the players:
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jul/15/humans-need-it-will-a-lack-of-sex-force-players-to-break-the-nbas-bubble

Respond

Add Comment

O/T. The regulatory state is failing us (tm).

Clearly the FDA should have prevented these fly by night companies from putting out dangerous safety products, while simultaneously getting out of the free market's way as it fixed its own failure to have adequate supplies on hand for a predictable surge in demand.

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-methanol

[11 companies so far, 7 pages of recalls and counting...]

Good find, and the companies should be sued.

OTOH the only reason these products are floating around is that the government incentivizes denaturing alcohol with methanol to intentionally make it lethally poisonous to humans.

So...

The fact that many nations discourage the ingestion of ethanol is not the reason these companies included methanol in their product.

And it's certainly not the FDA's fault.

It’s certainly not the FDAs fault.

These companies also definitely had methanol in their products because of the intentional incentivizing of the denaturing of ethanol with methanol.

Looks like they sourced the ethanol to 3rd party companies and failed their due diligence. Obviously it’s much cheaper to use denatured alcohol thanks to the tax and the rest is history.

They should be sued. Also protip: don’t drink hand sanitizer

Alas, even repeated exposure though the skin can be highly toxic.

That's an interesting take on who's to blame for scumbag and murderous fraudsters - the government, why? because taxes of course.

Particularly since at least some of these scumbags used pure methanol, not denatured alcohol. Methanol is cheaper not because of taxes, it is cheaper because it is less useful and cheaper to make.

You're conflating cause and effect with assigning blame. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth which I did not say. I will do my best to treat you with the same respect.

As I said, sue the companies for gross negligence if people have been injured. They should have ensured via quality control that their ethanol suppliers' products were not denatured with methanol.

I have not seen any evidence of pure methanol products but that would certainly be even worse and should incur more liability for lawsuits.

The government affects incentives through policy. The incentives it set result in denatured alcohol being extraordinarily less expensive than non denatured alcohol. Cost and benefit analysis should include the cost of setting insane incentives that kill people

Ok. But these manufacturers seem to have been located in Mexico. The supply chain for methanol, is of course, global.

At least one of the recalled products was 81% methanol.

Yes, all of these examples are imports from Mexico.

The entirety of the problem could have been squashed with a common sense regulatory addition to NATO requiring additional quality control of Mexican suppliers.

Find the constituency for that on Twitter. o_O

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Methanol is (also) a problem in cheap and dirty distillation:

https://www.verywellmind.com/moonshine-can-still-cause-health-problems-63205

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

1. This is not particularly new or special to Twitter.

This was Rush Limbaugh's (et al) model for years and years. Pull a story off the news wire, collapse the context, puff it up with outrage, then rant about it for four hours straight. This is what Fox News does every day for decades. This is what your crazy right wing uncle did when he first learned how to forward emails from his friends he met on Newsmax.

Twitter simply made it easier, annonymouser, and more available to the great unwashed.

Rush Limbaugh and the outrage right lives in enclaves.

Twitter is not an enclave. It’s vitality is exponential compared to talk radio and Fox News,hence it’s power.

Twitter is many many enclaves, and some big topics that span them. You are probably not seeing everything I do, for instance dudes in Texas really into electric unicycles, but we all know about the Bitcoin hack. That's a rare and big event.

I really doubt that there are normally any unified audiences approaching the size of broadcast media.

The difference is the incentives, as everyone is quick to forget. A massive corporation with billions in assets and revenue has something to protect. An amorphous mob has nothing to protect and no incentives to protect anything nor spare any innocent.

Fox can sell insanity all it wants, but it's a single corporate entity with financial liability. There's a feedback mechanism that limits how crazy it will get in targeting individual citizens especially with slander or doxxing or harassment.

The mob faces no feedback incentives, that's why we call it a mob. There is no liability. There is nothing to limit its excesses. It will grow exponentially without end until it reaches a pivotal backlash to the moral panic.

Or not, sometimes the equilibrium it reaches is not that clean.

Social media has new strengths and weaknesses, but I think we need to understand what those are.

More 1000 tribes than 1 mob.

In the United States the power center of social media is Twitter, and is not 1,000 tribes pushing in different directions. It is thousands of political extremists of one tribe forming one mob pushing in one direction.

But of of course you're not even arguing against my idea. So who cares?

The issue is a mob (or 1,000 mobs) has no incentive to limit the attack. There's no liability in a mob. Th entire incentive structure of mobs leads to vigilante 'justice' and insanity

What are you even imagining, that everybody logs into Twitter and sees the same thing?

Or are they magically one "mob" even though they have diverse interests and diverse news feeds?

Respond

Add Comment

Twitter is a power center because Americans believe it's important to be a good listener, making them an instant audience (and potential amplifier) at all times. But in fact, the near opposite is true. The truth is seen, rarely heard. So it's best to be a bad listener and a good observer. When Americans understand this, they'll stop listening and start watching, and Twitter will die.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Oh I disagree. I think Rush and Fox had much greater reach and depth and saturation.

Limbaugh's 16 million listeners are a massive captive audience.

https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/most-retweeted-tweets/

Respond

Add Comment

How is Twitter vital? Isn’t it just a platform for users to word vomit and advertisers to target kids? Who really uses Twitter and of people who make decisions that matter for our daily lives, how many use Twitter. Some
stats from September 2019: there are 30 million monetizable daily active Twitter users in the US and 80% of US Twitter users are millennials. Compare that with 4 million people tuning into prime time FOX on a given day. Who watches FOX and of people who make decisions that matter for our daily lives how many watch FOX?

Im confident that someone can have a fulfilling life without ever using Twitter or watching FOX.

Twitter may encourage viral token-passing, and that may be political, or for another user it may be cute animals 7x24.

@humorandanimals

https://twitter.com/humorandanimals?s=09

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I don't really have a comment on #1. I think I remember it from years ago, or something similar.

Maybe I have tailored my use to avoid much of the noise since. There may be 30 million US users, but I only follow about 150. That means my view is going to be fairly idiosyncratic. For me it's weighted a bit center right and never Trump, @prchovanec, etc

https://twitter.com/prchovanec?s=09

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

9. Jaw-dropping crash in streaming music. What? Yes, the pandemic has coincided with a jaw-dropping crash in music streaming. Why?

Respond

Add Comment

1. “ What Twitter Police victims and researchers such as Watts fear most about the long arm of the Internet law is a sort of pre-crime unit — think of the movie “Minority Report” — prompting talkers and tweeters to censor themselves for fear of being busted seconds later. Though the Twitter Police quickly move on to the next crime scene, criminal records are never expunged online.”

Twitter users in 2013, so naive and hopeful, could not conceive of how stifling Twitter would become.

But of course, in the original story, Dick decided that precrime units were better than the alternative. An ending that the movie totally botched. The bad guys were those who want to destroy precrime, not the other way around.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

2. That was then, this is now,
Doing the various genders thing.
4. Jaw-dropping crash in global fertility.
Whoops, maybe there aren't that many genders!

Okay, that made me smile.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

4. The estimate of a peak world population of under 10 billion is not a surprise if you ignored the stupid population predictions that assumed countries that had fallen below the population replacement would return to it -- even though that's never been observed to occur over the long term. But for some stupid reason a lot of people ran with them.

Respond

Add Comment

1. Nothing new under the sun

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/fake-outrage-machine-right-radical-professors/

there is a creighton academic who is currently equating support for law
enforcement with white supremacy

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Eight very good and fairly benign politically speaking links today and barely eighty replies.

Links 5,6, and 7 represent some of the best news about covid since the beginning of the pandemic. We like the tribal red meat on this blog.....

Not necessarily to disagree with your point. But, experience has taught me to hold judgement on good Covid news until it has survived a few news cycles.

+2)

Respond

Add Comment

+1

Skepticism is warranted. For countries filled with non East Asian people the best hope is that Sweden has reached the end game and that's the final tally of 'full spread'.

Sweden has a total infected rate over 7% according to June antibody testing. Stockholm is much higher, possibly as high as 25%. Sweden has not reached the end game at all.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

The T cell news is great if it stands! It seems like pretty serious work. Vox, the NYT, WAPO and others will likely continue to fear monger with articles proclaiming “REINFECTION REINFECTION THE ANTIBODIES FADE IN WEEKS!” to try to further disastrous lockdowns to punish Trump and republican governors.

Respond

Add Comment

4. When we look 30 years down the road, say (maybe more, but 30 years is a long time in technology), how likely is it that we'll be able to gestate children outside of a womb? If so, governments may decide to create children to maintain a stable population. Actually getting pregnant will be something only the rich pay surrogates to do.

Yes, that's a little Brave New World-y, but I've always admired that book for its prescience. Among the many dystopian novels, it stand up well. I keep expecting governments to deal with dangerous narcotics by inventing soma and dispensing it freely (perhaps enhanced edible marijuana).

I am very excited about sack babies and hope to offer financing to those who want to have the procedure electively once it becomes available.

https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2017/4/25/15421734/artificial-womb-fetus-biobag-uterus-lamb-sheep-birth-premie-preterm-infant

I think a lot of mothers like the emotional connection they think they get from bearing a child to term, but I think partial and some day full gestation outside the womb could be great for some women. The church will of course hate it.

If the therapy is mostly available to affluent women/parents and those parents choose to have more children, the economic and societal impact would be great. The therapy would also make having children easier for same sex couples who either adopt or use costly surrogates.

Interesting link. It's likely the technology will continue to progress.

Respond

Add Comment

Been done:

https://www.deseret.com/1999/8/5/19459160/baby-who-grew-outside-uterus-astounds-doctors-br-obstetrician-delivers-a-healthy-medical-surprise

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

In 30 years time considerable progress may have been made in keeping people alive longer as well as healthier in the time they are alive. (Note: It's actually difficult not to do both. Keeping sick people alive for a long time is hard work.)

We'll known when gestation outside the womb is becoming possible when premature birth survival rate shoot up.

This only covers 1995 to 2006 but the percentage of years men spend in good health dropped from 80% to 63% over that period and for women dropped from 70% to 60%. I don't think that has improved in the past 14 years.

David Sinclair at 1:55
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiCvqnUIe04

Health Adjusted Life Expectancy trends upwards in Australia. Not as fast as we'd like it to, but you can't have everything. Improving the health of indigenous Australians has been an important part of this.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Actually getting pregnant will be something only the rich pay surrogates to do.

Or getting pregnant will become an "extreme sport". There's already something like this around natural childbirth. People do it for the childbirth experience , not because of religious beliefs. It's supposed to be empowering. It's kind of a feminist thing.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

https://www.cancercenter.com/community/blog/2017/05/whats-the-difference-b-cells-and-t-cells

Immunology for Dummies:
B-cells and T-cells are also called lymphocytes. “There are primary and secondary lymphoid organs involved in the complex development of lymphocytes,” says Pamela Crilley, DO, Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). “The primary lymphoid tissues in the initial generation of B- and T-lymphocytes are the bone marrow and the thymus.”

B-cells fight bacteria and viruses by making Y-shaped proteins called antibodies, which are specific to each pathogen and are able to lock onto the surface of an invading cell and mark it for destruction by other immune cells. B-lymphocytes and cancer have what may be described as a love-hate relationship. For example, B-cells sometimes inhibit tumor development by producing antibodies that may attack cancer cells or oncogenic viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for most cervical, anal, penile and other reproductive cancers. Other times, regulatory B-cells may release immune-suppressive cytokines that stifle an anti-tumor response. Also, B-cells are far more likely than T-cells to mutate into a liquid cancer such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or B-cell lymphoma.

There are two main types of T-cells: helper T-cells and killer T-cells. Helper T-cells stimulate B-cells to make antibodies and help killer cells develop. Killer T-cells directly kill cells that have already been infected by a foreign invader. T-cells also use cytokines as messenger molecules to send chemical instructions to the rest of the immune system to ramp up its response. Activating T-cells against cancer cells is the basis behind checkpoint inhibitors, a relatively new class of immunotherapy drugs that have recently been federally approved to treat lung cancer, melanoma and other difficult cancers. Cancer cells often evade patrolling T-cells by sending signals that make them seem harmless. Checkpoint inhibitors disrupt those signals and prompt the T-cells to attack the cancer cells.
----
T cells need one more step, and that may still be the bridge too far. They are not likely attacking the sphere itself, just cleaning up the aftermath. We need an artificial immuno gobulin to inhale that attacks the sphere directly.

But, this is good news, it does open a path.

Respond

Add Comment

#8 I thought this comment section is mostly people in the USA yet no comment on China's Belt and Road. You do understand that it's intent is to put China at the center of world trade routes, displacing the USA to the margin?

It'll be hard for Belt and Road to significantly change trade gravity, really. They may do it a bit, though.

I don't know if the goal is primarily geostrategic though. Here's the lens I'd look at BnR through:

China's advantage in international trade is mainly it's huge working age workforce, and its ability to suppress their wages and organise them at scale. (It's probably not majorly human capital and innovation, or stability of institutions and trust; they're not there on the value chain yet).

As wages inevitably rise, automation becomes more sophisticated and viable, China's working age population shrinks due to demographics and coordination becomes easier and less necessary in supply chains due to expansions of internet business, China's advantages in production (big, cheap workforces coordinated by the Party's economic plans) weaken. How do they keep production in China rather than in a million small-scale Indian glorified cottage production enterprises coordinated via the internet, and autofactories in Germany-Poland and in the Midwest (and a bunch of other places)?

They need to reduce costs of exports and productivity to maintain their model, which is fuelled or at least enhanced by exports, and not end up with a crunch of economic contraction at the same time as they "Get old before they get rich".

One way of trying to do this is to drop transport costs for both imports and exports, against the prevailing wind of tariffs and barriers towards them.

BnR provides a way to do this while conveniently providing boosts to GDP growth and money into the pockets of SOEs and Communist Party connected contractors. (Patrons making clients rich, possibly to then shift money overseas, is another motive).

In a sense it's hard for them to find another path but to try and prop up long term export competitiveness, as flows of finance from the rest of the world and currency into China as a "safe harbour", as happens in post-industrial West, is not a likely outcome for them. Even if it was, the Party sees its strength in its industrial production and would not prefer such a path.

Respond

Add Comment

It's not going to happen. China has taken a view that served it well in a dim and slow-moving age, and is trying to revive it in modern form. With better lighting the middle-kingdom fiction vanishes. The idea has no universal dimension (it has no reading of human nature) and therefore has no charm to the non-Chinese. (As a matter of historical fact China has poor resistance to foreign universalisms recruiting among its people.) This is not a small problem. China believes it will engineer itself into being the permanent brain and directive force of the world. That's not how things work now.

Moreover, China seems to be creating new facts on the ground, facts which have nothing to do with normal financial rules for capital, risk, governance, assurance, etc. Don't be fooled! Neither will 'eternal China' nor will the alien financial order have any lasting force in the modern world.

Respond

Add Comment

Bazza, Belt & Road is a joke. We hoped it would result in some aid to poorer nations, but China is unwilling to put resources into it that are required to get the effect they want and so it has basically resulted in PR stunts that either go nowhere or end up actively pissing off their partners. As an effective piece of policy it's about as convincing as George Bush Junior's Coalition of the Willies.

Of course, if Eurasia eliminates the Coronavirus while it remains in the US, that is going to have an effect.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#1

To quote someone from the interwebs:

"CHOP/CHAZ is when Twitter becomes a city"

On a side-note: It says everything about the movement's merits to defund Facebook when they don't apply nearly half the pressure on Twitter advertisers. The disastrous impact Twitter has on public discourse is blatant. Yet while #QuitFacebook was trending, #QuitTwitter never took off.

Respond

Add Comment

#4 Except for using wage taxation rather than consumption taxation to fund safety net expenditures, this is not a problem. It should help slow down and reverse trend in US/China GDP, although it will still need to be complemented with trade and immigration promoting policies and a shift to progressive consumption taxation to raise national savings and investment rates.

Respond

Add Comment

#6. The bad news is if seasonality is a reason, we could be in for another major outbreak next winter.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment