International travel restrictions are a farrago built on fear, statistical confusion, and out-dated information. The US, for example, is still requiring a virus test to enter the US but not proof of vaccination. In other words, a fully vaccinated citizen can now fly to Canada (with Canadian requirements) but if they want back in they need to have had a virus test. Ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous, Chinese, European and British citizens are still not allowed into the United States. Why? China, for example, has almost no COVID cases–thus there is no reason to restrict Chinese citizens from traveling to the United States. Indeed, President Trump rescinded these restrictions at the end of his term but Biden reinstated them immediately. Why? Travel is now banned from many countries with low COVID and high vaccination rates while allowed from many countries with high COVID rates and low vaccination rates. There is no rhyme or reason to the travel bans and restrictions.
I propose we eliminate the farrago with a simple rule. Anyone vaccinated with a full dose of any WHO approved vaccine should be allowed to visit the United States without restriction. People on twitter responded “but even a vaccinated person could still be a carrier!” No kidding. So what? We cannot eliminate all risk. The logic of allowing vaccinated travelers into the United States is simple–a fully vaccinated visitor is safer than the average US citizen. Thus, allowing more vaccinated people into the United States is not especially risky and is having beneficial effects on the economy.
“Vaccine passports” became politically charged but what we have now is a bizarre combination of “testing passports” and “no passports.” In contrast, a vaccination requirement for travel is simpler, cheaper, more convenient and more effective than a test and it creates greater freedom than no passport at all. A vaccine requirement is no more difficult to enforce than a testing requirement. Indeed, the United States has in the past required vaccination prior to arrival so this would hardly be unprecedented. For special cases, a test could be allowed in lieu of a vaccine, especially if it was followed up with an airport vaccination but vaccination should be the primary requirement.
To recap: Anyone vaccinated with a full dose of any WHO approved vaccine should be allowed to visit the United States without restriction.
Addendum: A mix and match from any two WHO approved vaccines counts as a full dose!
That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:
First, if you do it right, most of your best meals will be eaten before 3 p.m., sometimes even before 10 a.m. Most “comida popular,” as it is called, is sold in the earlier parts of the work day, as the evening meal is typically eaten at home with family. Those are the supply chains you wish to catch, because they will have the freshest food and ingredients. Treat your dinner as an afterthought, but plan the earlier part of your day carefully.
Start by getting up fairly early and avoiding the hotel breakfast, which is rarely excellent even in the fanciest places.
The best thing to do is to walk or take a cab to a food market around 8 or 9 a.m. Look for a lone woman selling tamales, and don’t be afraid to ask around for her, since her place in the market will not be so obvious. Everyone in the market, however, will know her station. In Oaxaca, you might try 20 de Noviembre market or Mercado de Abastos, but tamales can be found in other locations as well, sometimes also in the parks or in various neighborhoods, carried around in baskets.
Then order as many tamales as you can; you won’t find it easy to spend more than $5 on your meal. Of particular interest are the tamales de mole, tamales de amarillo (the word means yellow, but they’re actually orange), and the tamales de rana with tomatoes. In addition to the fillings, you can enjoy the thrilling experience of eating corn near the locations where corn was first bred and engineered by indigenous Mexicans before the Spanish conquest. You’ll feel like you’ve never tasted corn before.
…Don’t worry about sanitation; the tamales have been steamed at high temperatures and kept hot, and they are served promptly. They’re typically gone by 10 a.m., a sign of both their quality and their safety.
Recommended, there are further tips at the link, including about the world’s best barbecue, which is in Mexico, not Texas or North Carolina.
What do you all recommend I do here?
I thank you in advance for the kind assistance.
Unsurprisingly, [Marc] Spiegler rejects the notion that an increased digital presence could undermine the necessity for the art world to fly to [Basel] Switzerland. “Having content available ahead of time builds momentum and increases, rather than diminishes, people’s desire to come.”
Comparing the fair to a music concert, Spiegler says: “The more live sets a DJ has online, the better attended their shows are. It hypes people up. The fairs are fun, people like seeing each other, they’re not going to stop wanting that.” Indeed for many, Art Basel 2021 will mark the welcome return to a once packed social calendar on the art world circuit, filled with invaluable in-person exchanges. Here’s hoping for a rager.
That is from Kabir Jhala at The Art Newspaper. It does seem the Basel Art Fair will be held in person this September.
Your advice is most welcome! I thank you in advance for your wisdom and counsel. My first trip there is now about twenty-five years old, so time to go again.
Governor Ron DeSantis would not let cruise ships sailing from Florida mandate vaccination? Well, this is what you end up with:
Now we know the true cost of not getting vaccinated for COVID-19: You won’t be able to order sushi when cruising on Royal Caribbean‘s Freedom of the Seas.
Here is a list of all the other restrictions for the unvaccinated cruise passengers. Via Stephen Jones.
Austin Cyclists Split On Sharing Bike Lanes With Pizza Delivery Robots
Some Austin cyclists are not happy about the robots using bike lanes, while others are optimistic that sharing their path will lead to good things down the road…
“My personal view is that I don’t believe these belong in the bike lane,” said Jake Boone, who serves as vice-chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Council.
“I almost feel like we’re the test subject for this new technology, and that does bother me,” he said. “What if in two years we have several hundred of these on the road?”
Here is the full story, via Mike Doherty.
You can read it here. I don’t think it clarifies much, other than to stress the multiple sources of sensor data for the observations and the inexplicability of some number of the sightings, well into triple digits. So you can put aside Mick West, PewdiePie, and the like. It is “real stuff” being measured, no matter how you might account for the observations, not just shaky camera movements and flocks of birds.
The report also makes clear how poorly funded and chaotic the investigation has been to date. That is hardly a surprise, but isn’t it about time we did something properly right off the bat?
I’ll fall back on my “sincerity is the most underrated political motive” view. I think our own government is genuinely puzzled, as I am, and as you should be. I would stress my earlier points that we don’t have many reliable intuitions to fall back upon for thinking through this problem.
I believe the governmental message will be: “We are not sure, so for reasons of national security we have to move forward assuming some of these devices are from foreign powers.” That will rather rapidly meld into “foreign powers.” In any case that will keep the issue alive. Furthermore, if it is our earthbound adversaries, at some point we will know this for sure, for reasons of intelligence or eventual public use of the devices, or our ability to construct the same. By the way, if you are convinced by the “adversaries” take, you should update lots of your views on foreign policy! (Will you? Will anyone?) America would have a lot more to be afraid of.
It is important to resist jumping to conclusions here, if only because doing so will dull your critical faculties on this issue. In any case I will continue to follow developments in this area.
When infection rates in two areas are similar the argument for closing borders is weak. Canadian and US infection rates are now similar and both countries are highly vaccinated by world standards. The arguments for not opening are mostly psychological, a fear of foreigners. As a result, we have both Canadians fearful of opening to Americans and Americans fearful of opening to Canadians which doesn’t make sense. At least one must be wrong! Moreover, if we require even a weak proof of vaccination to cross borders then the average Canadian coming to America will be safer than the average American and the average American traveling to Canada will be safer than the average Canadian.
It’s time to open the border.
Where should I eat in Denver? Doesn’t have to be fancy, of course. I thank you all in advance for the suggestions.
Primarily as an exercise, I thought about that question for a while, and here is part of my answer in a Bloomberg column:
If you know you are being watched, what exactly do you wish to buy more of? I would bet on defense stocks to rise, whether or not there is much we can do to defend ourselves against this alien presence.
Of course investors could not be sure that these alien drone probes will merely observe us forever. They might be observing with the purpose of rendering judgment. If they are offended by our militaristic tendencies, the quality of our TV shows and our inability to adopt the cosmopolitan values of “Star Trek” over the next 30 years, maybe they will zap us into oblivion. But that kind of systematic risk is hard to insure against. After such an act of obliteration, neither gold nor Bitcoin will do you any good.
My main prediction is that alien UFOs will be bullish for the dollar. The U.S. government seems most closely connected to the UFO phenomenon, for whatever reason. (Maybe its pilots fly more sallies and record better data?) In any case, if alien UFOs become more likely, an informational advantage would accrue to the federal government. And the dollar already has a tradition as a safe haven currency…
Most of us would get used to the idea of alien presence without quite believing in it. As The New Yorker makes clear, many Americans believed in alien-origin UFOs after World War II, as did many American policymakers. It might have spurred greater interest in the space program and science fiction, but it didn’t affect most aspects of American life, nor did it seem to drive markets.
Never underestimate the capacity of markets, like humans, to adapt. Just as many of the strangest parts of our lives can come to seem normal, so Wall Street can find a way to do business with just about anybody — aliens included.
I do full, literally mean everything stated in the column. But the piece also has (at least) two esoteric meanings — can you guess what they are?
A French astronaut who leaves Earth these days does not leave French food behind.
Here are some of the foods that Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut who launched on a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station on Friday, will enjoy during his six-month stay in orbit: lobster, beef bourguignon, cod with black rice, potato cakes with wild mushrooms and almond tarts with caramelized pears.
“There’s a lot of expectations when you send a Frenchman into space,” Mr. Pesquet said during a European Space Agency news conference last month.
Alas, alcohol is prohibited, much of the food is freeze-dried, and croissants do not work in orbit. They do have kale and ice cream. Here is the full story (NYT).
…two opposing forces constitute the first-order determinants of total infections at any point in time. On one hand, the longer a travel ban lasts, the less time community transmission exists in the rural sink. Ceteris paribus, this will decrease rural infections. On the other hand, the longer the restrictions remain, the longer migrants are contained within a hotspot where infection rates are rapidly increasing. Consequently, the probability that migrants are infected with Covid-19 rises over time until the city achieves herd immunity, in turn increasing the rate at which they seed the rural sink with infections once the ban is lifted. This drives up cumulative cases at any future date.
In some cases, for travel bans to work they have to be very long. That is from a new paper by Fiona Burlig, Anant Sudarshan, Garrison Schlauch, who also provide evidence from India, and also from cross-country evidence, to support their analysis.
Shadi joined Tyler to discuss reading the classics as someone who is half-Persian, the difference between Homer and Virgil’s underworlds, the reasons so many women are redefining Virgil’s Aeneid, the best way to learn Latin, why you must be in a room with a native speaker to learn Mandarin, the question of Seneca’s hypocrisy, what it means to “wave the wand of Hermes”, why Lucan begins his epic The Civil War with “fake news”, the line from Henry Purcell’s aria that moves her to tears, her biggest takeaway from being the daughter of an accomplished UN economist, the ancient text she’s most hopeful that new technology will help us discover, the appeal of Strauss to some contemporary Chinese intellectuals, the reasons some consider the history of Athens a better allegory for America than that of Rome, the Thucydides Trap, the magical “presentness” of ancient history she’s found in Italy and Jerusalem, her forthcoming book Plato Goes to China, and more.
Here is one excerpt:
COWEN: You may not agree with this, but many readers I speak with tend to think that Homer is somehow deeper, more mystical, or just more fun to read than Virgil. What accounts for that perception and how might you challenge it?
BARTSCH: I think they think that because both of Homer’s epics are not, per se, about politics or governments. They don’t offer etiologies of a state. They don’t talk about history. They are stories in the true sense. They are about heroes in the true sense, not about some guy who’s pushed around the world by the gods, constantly getting into trouble, crying, wishing he didn’t have to go found Rome, etcetera.
Achilles — figure larger than life. His pride is everything to him. He stops fighting in the Trojan War because he’s been insulted. The drama is, what compels him to go back into battle after that insult?
Odysseus — a fairy tale of a man wandering from island to island, meeting ever stranger creatures, but eventually making it back home. It’s a great yarn. You don’t have to learn history to read these. You get involved in the psychology of the characters, their tragedies and their triumphs.
Nobody is really interested in getting involved in the psychology of the state and its triumphs. On the one hand, you’ve got a poem that’s an etiology for a particular government. On the other hand, you have two amazing stories. I can see how reading The Aeneid would be considered duller for some.
Excellent throughout, and again here is Shadi’s excellent translation of Virgil’s Aeneid.
2 hours 9 minutes long, Lex is one of the very best interviewers/discussants in the sector. Here is the video, here is the audio. Plenty of new topics and avenues, including the political economy of Russia (note this was recorded before the massing of Russian forces on the Ukraine border). Lex’s tweet described it as follows:
Here’s my conversation with @tylercowen about economic growth, resisting conformity, the value of being weird, competition and capitalism, UFO sightings, contemporary art, best food in the world, and of course, love, death, and meaning.