ECONOMY

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/1/2024 | naked capitalism

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Winter Wren, Grand Manan Island; Middle Dam Pond, New Brunswick, Canada. “JUMBLED COLLECTION OF MUSICAL NOTES.” Hardly!

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Politics

“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

2024

Less than a year to go!

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Trump (R) (Willis, Election Interference) “Ex-divorce lawyer’s testimony complicates Willis, Wade controversy” [The Hill]. “The defense is seeking to disqualify Willis, Wade and the entirety of the Fulton County district attorney’s office from continuing to prosecute the sweeping racketeering case against Trump and several allies. At the heart of their argument is the timeline of Willis and Wade’s relationship, which defense attorneys say began prior to Wade’s hiring. The defense claims Willis has benefited from Wade’s employment via trips the pair took together while dating. Wade was hired in November 2021. Both prosecutors have maintained that they began dating in early 2022 — after Wade’s hiring — and broke it off in summer 2023, just before Trump’s indictment was handed down, insisting there is no conflict. But testimony this week threw their timeline further into question. Ashleigh Merchant, an attorney for 2020 Trump campaign operative Michael Roman, who first publicly surfaced allegations of the relationship, presented Bradley with the defense’s silver bullet Tuesday: text messages showing the ex-Wade law partner confirming the defense’s timeline…. Despite Bradley’s demurring on the witness stand, his text messages align with testimony given at an earlier hearing by an ex-friend of Willis. Robin Yeartie, who met Willis in college, testified earlier this month that Willis and Wade began a romantic relationship in 2019, after a municipal court conference — and several years earlier than the prosecutors have claimed, under oath. Willis dismissed Yeartie’s testimony.” And: “Judge Scott McAfee will hear arguments from the attorneys Friday afternoon and will then proceed to craft a decision. He previously said the allegations against Willis and Wade ‘could result’ in their disqualification if evidence shows an ‘actual conflict of interest or the appearance of one.’”

Trump (R) (Willis, Election Interference) “Texts Show Witness Readily Helped Build a Case to Disqualify Trump Prosecutors” [New York Times]. undreds of text messages obtained by The New York Times show that Bradley, a former law partner and friend of Wade, helped a defense lawyer to expose the relationship between the two prosecutors. The texts reveal that Bradley, who served for a time as Wade’s divorce lawyer until the two men had a bitter falling-out, assisted the effort to reveal the romance and provide details about it for at least four months — countering the impression he left on the witness stand that he had known next to nothing about the romance.” And: “Before exposing the romance in her Jan. 8 filing, Merchant asked Bradley in a text, ‘Do you think it started before she hired him?’ ‘Absolutely,” Bradley replied, adding that the romance had started when the two served as local judges, before Willis’ election as district attorney in 2020. But on the witness stand this week, Bradley said he had only been ‘speculating’ about the timing. Although Wade had told him about the relationship, he said on the stand, he did not have direct knowledge about when it began.”

Trump (R) “Trump’s one loss this week: His 2024 courtroom strategy” [Axios]. “Trump’s delay tactics are paying off in court, but he may be losing one of his most potent venues for his grievance-centered campaign: courthouses. It now appears likely that just one of Trump’s four criminal cases — the one in New York involving hush money paid to an adult film actress — will conclude before the 2024 election. That means Trump — who’s used court appearances for rants against against Democrats and fundraising pleas — may need new backdrops in casting himself as a victim of politically motivated prosecutors. Even as he’s orchestrated his court appearances as campaign messaging, Trump has complained of being ‘stuck here’ instead of being on the campaign trail. But some of Trump’s biggest fundraising hauls of the campaign have come after his courthouse speeches, his team has said. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday to hear arguments over whether Trump has immunity for any crimes committed as president has thrown a wrench into his court calendar — an extension of his campaign schedule.” • I’m sure the Democrats will come up with something else…

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Trump (R): “‘She sits in a tough chair’: Meet Susie Wiles, the operative trying to guide Trump through four indictments to the White House” [NBC]. “In a rare on-the-record interview the day after Trump romped to victory over Nikki Haley in South Carolina, the platinum-bobbed and blue-eyed Wiles, 66, said his success so far is attributable to precisely one person: ‘President Trump.’” She had better! More: “She said his natural political skills — ‘determination’ and being a ‘student of people’ and a ‘good reader of sentiment’ — have been coupled with invaluable experience gained over eight years in the political and policy arenas. ‘He’s now more knowledgeable about what it takes to be president after his first term. He’s more knowledgeable about how to interact with the media. His personnel instincts are, I think, better honed,’ Wiles said in a 30-minute phone call. ‘The new skills are inside the package of the same Donald Trump, and I think that’s what’s making the difference this time.’” But then there’s this: “A former Trump campaign official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering him and Wiles, pointed to Trump’s cash crunch as a reason to doubt Wiles’ effectiveness. This person said Wiles is capable in state-level races and presidential primaries, in which close relationships with outside power players matter more than they do in a full-scale national campaign for the White House.” • We’ll see. But it makes sense to spend early and lock the nomination up. s

Trump (R): “No, Trump, ‘the Black people’ aren’t on your side” [Renée Graham, Boston Globe]. “‘I think that’s why the Black people are so much on my side now because they see what’s happening to me happens to them,’ Trump said. ‘Does that make sense?’ No. It doesn’t. It’s a safe guess that a majority of ‘the Black people’ do not equate the legal wages of Trump’s self-inflicted sins — 91 federal felony counts from four indictments in four jurisdictions — with the more than 400 brutal years of legalized, systemic, and institutional discrimination that Black people in America have always faced.” • Surely not all or even most. But I can’t help but recall the (Black) people cheering Trump’s motorcade as he drove by on his way to being arraigned. Well-to-do suburbanites they were not. “What’s happening to me happens to them”? Yep.

Trump (R): “Trump Says He Is ‘Absolutely’ Considering Gov. Greg Abbott As Potential VP Pick” [HuffPost]. “In a joint interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump said the governor is ‘absolutely’ included on his vice presidential shortlist. ‘Certainly, he would be somebody that I would very much consider,’ Trump said in a joint appearance with Abbott. Trump praised Abbott as a ‘spectacular man,’ adding that he was honored to receive his endorsement this past November. Abbott, though [as he must], told CNN’s ‘State of the Union” Sunday that he remains focused on Texas and helping Trump win re-election in his current position as governor.” • What’s Abbot going to do? Swing Texas Trump’s way?

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Biden (D): “Axelrod: Biden Needs To Worry About Black Voters, Especially If Trump Picks Tim Scott As VP” [RealClearPolitics]. “[Trump’s] polling, you know, 20, 21% among, African-American voters here. Biden, got 88% of that vote, back in 2020. And this is going to be a marginal race. So, this is a concern. And, yes, Black men and particularly younger Black men are the ones that are drifting away. Some may vote for Trump, some may not vote at all. And, this has to be a concern, for the Biden campaign. Trump knows that. And I, by the way, I think it may impact on his vice presidential choice. And, you know, there’s a lot of talk about Tim Scott as a vice presidential candidate. I think if he picks Tim Scott, it’s partly because he recognizes this would be helpful in kind of sealing in, that portion of the African-American vote that he now has.”

Biden (D): “The Increasing Attacks on Kamala Harris” [The New Yorker]. The deck: “The Vice-President is to cast herself as a leader and connect with voters who are not excited about the Democratic ticket.” • I read the whole article, and it boils down to “trying.” There’s nothing there.

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Williamson (D): “Marianne Williamson Re-Enters 2024 Race After Winning 3% in Michigan” [Bloomberg]. “Self-help author Marianne Williamson said she is “unsuspending” her long-shot presidential campaign a day after winning 3% of the vote in the Michigan Democratic primary…. ‘Some people would say, ‘you’re delusional.’ But I’ll tell you what’s delusional. What’s delusional is just closing our eyes and crossing our fingers and hoping that somehow Biden and Harris will be able to beat that juggernaut of dark, dark vision,’ she said, referring to Republican Donald Trump, in a video posted on X, formerly Twitter. Williamson, 71, has championed progressive ideas, including Medicare-for-all and free college tuition. Her re-entry into the race is meant to capture ongoing dissatisfaction with Biden, 81, among some Democrats amid concerns about his handling of the economy and mental acuity.” • Here’s the Tweet:

Williamson (D): “Marianne Williamson ‘unsuspends’ her 2024 presidential campaign” [WXYZ Detroit]. The Democratic candidate announced Wednesday she is throwing her hat back in the ring, ‘unsuspending’ her campaign after announcing she was calling it quits three weeks ago. ‘I had suspended it because I was losing the horse race, but something so much more important than the horse race is at stake here, and we must respond,’ she said in a video posted to X. … Williamson, running as a progressive to the left of President Biden, came in third with around 3% of the votes, beating out fellow presidential hopeful Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota despite having already suspended her race.” • Williamson beats Phillips like a gong. That’s pretty funny.

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“Against Democrats’ ‘What, Me Worry?’ Approach to Losing Working Class Voters” [Ruy Tiexeira, The Liberal Patriot]. More recycled Thomas Frank, though it does seem that Tiexeira has the zeal of the apostate. Still, check this out: “… the progressive or intersectional left…. ” Tiexeira ties his shoelaces together right there. He apparently cannot — exactly as liberal Democrat cannot — of empowering the working class, period. Here is the mathematical defintion of intersection: “{1,2,3} ∩ {2,3,4} = {2,3}. “Less is less.” Surely what we want is “more is more”? Perhaps what we want is, not coincidentally, union {1,2,3} ∪ {2,3,4} = {1,2,3,4} (if I have that notation right, and I’m not sure I do.

“Americans Aren’t Paying Close Attention to the 2024 Election” [The Liberal Patriot]. Yes, Labor Day is a ways away. Interesting chart, though:

“Our democracy.”

#COVID19

“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Covid is Airborne

“SARS-CoV-2 Contamination on Healthy Individuals’ Hands in Community Settings During the COVID-19 Pandemic” [Cureus]. From the Abstract: “We collected 1,022 swab samples from the hands of healthy participants. According to the criteria for data collection, 97 samples were excluded, and 925 samples were analyzed using RT-qPCR…. The RT-qPCR-positive samples did not contain viable viruses, as confirmed by the plaque assay results…. The detection rate of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from the hands of healthy individuals was extremely low, and no viable viruses were detected. These results suggest that the risk of contact transmission via hands in a community setting is extremely rare.” • Shocked, shocked. Somebody tell CDC!

Maskstravaganza

“Impact of community mask mandates on SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Ontario after adjustment for differential testing by age and sex” [PNAS Nexus]. Model study. From the Abstract: “In Ontario, Canada, irregular regional introduction of community mask mandates in 2020 created a quasi-experiment useful for evaluating the impact of such mandates… The prevented fraction associated with mask mandates was 46% (95% CI 41–51%), with 290,000 clinical cases, 3,008 deaths, and loss of 29,038 quality-adjusted life years averted from 2020 June to December, representing $CDN 610 million in economic wealth. Under-testing in younger individuals biases estimates of SARS-CoV-2 infection risk and obscures the impact of public health preventive measures. After adjustment for under-testing, mask mandates emerged as highly effective. Community masking saved substantial numbers of lives, and prevented economic costs, during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Ontario, Canada.”

Conversational tip:


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“Evaluation of the Efficacy and Aerodynamic Intervention of Face Shields against Pathogenic Aerosols Using Computational Fluid Dynamics and Wells-Riley Transport Model” (accepted article) [Philippine Journal of Science]. From the Abstract: “Results showed that the face shield is only effective against coughs hitting perpendicular to the surface. At other angles of attack, the protection by the face shield diminishes, and wearing a face shield can instead increase the infection risk against pathogenic aerosols.”

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“The Industrial Designer behind the N95 Mask” [Scientific American]. “[At 3M, Sara Little Turnbull] dug into that non-woven technology and all its many potential uses. She came up with 100 original product ideas, including one whose effects would resound across the globe: the moldable bra cup. Instead of an overly rigid and uncomfortable shape, the moldable cup fit snugly to the breast–and with fewer seam lines at that! [But] that moldable bra cup would pave the way for another invention – one with much farther-reaching effects… While she was working with 3M, Sara was also taking care of three sick family members. Both her parents and her sister were dying, all at the same time, which meant that Sara spent a lot of time in hospitals. And she began to notice the masks the doctors were wearing – a flat piece of fabric, with a tie in the back. Maybe it was the boredom of long hours spent in hospital rooms; maybe it was a racing brain that couldn’t be tamed; maybe it was a project designed to distract herself from her own intense grief – we can’t say for sure. But Sara had an idea. What if she could take that moldable bra that she’d designed… and turn it into a better medical mask? In 1972, 3M produced a mask… and it looked a whole lot like a moldable bra cup!” • Speculating very freely: Will Dr. Freud please pick up the white courtesy phone? Is it possible that the N95 activates unconscious taboos, and that this is one source for the unreasoning resistance to them?

“Compliance with containment measures to the COVID-19 pandemic over time: Do antisocial traits matter?” [Personality and Individual Differences]. 2021. From the Abstract: “This study investigated the relationships between antisocial traits and compliance with COVID-19 containment measures. The sample consisted of 1578 Brazilian adults aged 18–73 years who answered facets from the PID-5, the Affective resonance factor of the ACME, and a questionnaire about compliance with containment measures…. Our findings indicated that antisocial traits, especially lower levels of empathy and higher levels of Callousness, Deceitfulness, and Risk-taking, are directly associated with lower compliance with containment measures. These traits explain, at least partially, the reason why people continue not adhering to the containment measures even with increasing numbers of cases and deaths.” • A lot of libertarians in Brazil, then? (Seriously: I deprecate cross-country/cross-cultural studies. And I don’t think snarking on anti-maskers is effective, pragmatically, though heaven knows what is.)

Prevention

“Reducing Vaccinia virus transmission indoors within 60 seconds: Applying SAFEAIR-X aerosol with Iodine-V as a disinfectant” [PLOS One]. “Iodine-V ((C26H39N4O15)x * (I2)y) demonstrates an in vitro virucidal activity by deactivating SARS-CoV-2 viral titers. The antiviral properties of Iodine-V reduce viral load in the air to inhibit viral transmission indoors. This antiviral property was applied to form a disinfectant solution called SAFEAIR-X Aerosol. … The experiment measured the antiviral efficacy of SAFEAIR-X following exposure to the Vaccinia virus (VACV) samples as a confirmed surrogate for SARS-CoV-2. The SAFEAIR-X showed 96% effectiveness, with 2 seconds of spraying duration and 60 seconds of contact time releasing less than 0.0001 ppm of iodine into the air, and a log reduction value of 1.50 at 60 seconds in 2 out of 3 tests was observed. Therefore, this study demonstrates SAFEAIR-X aerosol as a potential indoor surface and air disinfectant.” • Awesome. When can we buy it?

Elite Maleficence

“PETITION TO THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW CHALLENGING ALLEGED UNDERGROUND REGULATION” (PDF) [World Health Network] (embedded at the end of today’s Water Cooler). This petition challenges the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) “one day” guidance for Covid isolation, shortly to be adopted by the CDC, as we saw in Links this morning. Here is the key paragraph:

CPDH just promulgated the rule, arbitrarily. They don’t get to do that. CDPH must think they’re the CDC, or something. (On “underground regulation,” see “The California ‘Department of Political Health’ Mandates Covid Infection with Its New ‘One Day’ Order (and How to Stop Them)” at NC.)

“PETITION TO THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW CHALLENGING ALLEGED UNDERGROUND REGULATION” [World Health Network] (embedded at the end of today’s Water Cooler). The same argument, but for California’s department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), known as “Cal/OSHA.”

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

LEGEND

1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”

NOTES

[1] (Biobot) Biobot drops, conformant to Walgreen positivity data (if that is indeed not a data artifact). Note, however, the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Regional separation re-emerges.

[3] (CDC Variants) As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

[4] (ER) Does not support Biobot data. “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Not flattening.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”.

[7] (Walgreens) That’s a big drop! It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening, consistent with Biobot data.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Down, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) About time for something to challenge JN.1. But what’s “other”? Something to look forward to, I guess! Alert reader RoadDoggie points out that “Other” is NV.1, which is (very suddenly) 12.5% of the total, even if JN.1 still dominates. Here is the Biobot history of HV.1:

As you can see, HV.1 was dominant in November 2023. On today’s CDC variant “NowCast,” it is quite low. Odd.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI in the United States fell to 47.8 in February 2024 from 49.1 in the previous month, firmly below market expectations of 49.5 to point to the 16th consecutive period of declines in manufacturing activity, erasing previous hopes of fresh traction in the sector.”

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Antitrust: “Google ‘predatory’ advertising practices probe expanded by Canada antitrust watchdog” [New York Post]. “As part of the Competition Bureau’s probe — which expands on an investigation that initially began in 2020 — the law enforcement agency obtained an order from the Federal Court of Canada requiring Google to producing relevant records and written information, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Competition Bureau was issued its first court order related to their investigation into Google’s conduct in the online-display-advertising market in October 2021, which sought to determine whether the Alphabet subsidiary was ‘impeding the success of competitors’ and surging prices as a result, The Journal reported.”

Tech: “Elon Musk sues OpenAI accusing it of putting profit before humanity” [The Guardian]. “Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit accusing OpenAI and its chief executive, Sam Altman, of betraying its foundational mission by putting the pursuit of profit ahead of the benefit of humanity. The world’s richest man, a founding board member of the artificial intelligence company behind ChatGPT, claimed Altman had ‘set aflame’ OpenAI’s founding agreement by signing an investment deal with Microsoft. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco on Thursday, claims OpenAI is now developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) – a theoretical form of AI that can perform a range of tasks at or above a human level of intelligence – for profit rather than for the benefit of humankind. ‘OpenAI Inc has been transformed into a closed-source, de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft. Under its new board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI to maximise profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity,’ the lawsuit alleges.” • I don’t understand. Profit is “the benefit of humanity.” What other reason could there be?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 77 Extreme Greed (previous close: 79 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 77 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 1 at 1:22:35 PM ET.

Photo Book

“Astronomy Picture of the Day” [NASA]. “How does the sky turn dark at night? In stages, and with different characteristic colors rising from the horizon.” Image Credit & Copyright: Dario Giannobile:

Zeitgeist Watch

“A new company is shipping Arctic ice from Greenland to chill posh drinks in Dubai” [CNN]. “The startup company, Arctic Ice, shipped its first container of around 22 tons of Greenland ice to Dubai this year for sale to high-end bars and restaurants. Founded in 2022 by two Greenlanders, Arctic Ice has an interesting — and controversial — business model. It scours the fjord near the country’s capital city of Nuuk for icebergs that have naturally detached from the ice sheet.​ “We are looking for the clearest and thereby also oldest and purest ice,” said Malik V. Rasmussen, one of the co-founders of Arctic Ice.” • Enjoy it while it lasts!

Air as a Service business model (alert reader DG):

Class Warfare

“Dr. Pangloss’s Panopticon” [Crooked Timber]. “What Acemoglu and Robinson are saying is something quite different than what Noah depicts them as saying. For sure, they acknowledge that persuasion has some stochasticity. But they stress that it is not a series of haphazard accidents. Instead, under their argument, there are some kinds of people who are systematically more likely to succeed in getting their views listened to than other kinds of people. This asymmetry can reasonably be considered to be an asymmetry of power. Under this definition, power is a kind of social influence. Again, it is completely true that it is extremely difficult to isolate social influence from other factors, proving that social influence absolutely caused this, that, or the other thing. But if Noah himself does not believe in the importance and value of social influence, then why does he get up in the morning and fire up his keyboard to go out and influence people, and why do people support his living by reading him? I imagine Noah would concede that social influence is a real thing! And if he were actually put to it, I think that he would also have to agree to a very plausible corollary: that on average he, Noah Smith, exerts more social influence than the modal punter argufying on the Internet. Lots of people pay to receive his newsletter; lots of other people receive it for free. That means that he is, under a very reasonable definition, more powerful than those other people. He is, on average, more capable of persuading large numbers of people of his beliefs than the modal reply-guy is going to be. This understanding of power is neither purely semantic nor empirically useless.” • Yep.

News of the Wired

“The Butterfly Redemption” [Hakai]. “Along with eight other incarcerated women, Heather is entrusted with the care and feeding of nearly 4,000 members of an endangered species, the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly. With this trust comes the privilege of working just beyond the razor-wire fence during the day before returning to life among the general prison population each night…. Recognizing the need for urgent action, the Oregon Zoo began a captive breeding program for the species in 2003. In 2011, the zoo helped establish the breeding program at Mission Creek as part of The Evergreen State College and Washington State’s Sustainability in Prisons Project. Since then, the work undertaken by these incarcerated women has become one of the last best hopes for the species’ survival.” • That’s good, or at least better, certainly for Heather. It’s too bad every citizen doesn’t have an easy pathway to becoming a citizen scientist. We need more of them!

“What To Do After You Finish the NY Times Crossword Puzzle” [Kottke.org]. Good compendium of crossword links. “But really the main thing to do after finishing the puzzle is to open the Spelling Bee back up… Am I right???” • I’m so old I remember when the paper version of the Times was actually an event. It weighed a metric f*ckton, cost under two bucks, and sometimes it was actually good! In my lifetime!

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi, lichen, and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From SR:

SR writes: “The majesty of bark. Sorry I don’t know what kind it is. But I haven’t seen you feature bark. And it is beautiful. Perhaps some woodpeckers’ handiwork too.” More bark would be lovely. After all, I stan for stumps, why not bark?

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APPENDIX World Health Network’s Challenges to California’s “One Day” Covid Isolation Guidance

I’d supply URLs, but these were only filed today, so they’re too new. Please circulate widely.

Petition on CalOSHA Underground Regulation

 

Petition on CDPH Underground Regulation

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