Links 3/23/2021

Mouse plague ravaging farms in NSW and southern Queensland, scurries south to Victoria ABC News (Anthony L). Cue Willard.

Scientists read minds of monkeys using new ultrasound technique New Atlas (David L)

The simple food that fights climate change BBC (David L)

Man arrested after drone found with a bag of heroin on board, Simi Valley police say Yahoo (resilc)

Want to improve your health? Head to a national park, and absorb the sounds PhysOrg

#COVID-19

Covid: The countries that nailed it, and what we can learn from them BBC (ma)

Science/Medicine

U.S. Health Officials Question AstraZeneca Vaccine Trial Results New York Times. My reply to furzy, who sent this link: “I hate to sound like a CT type, but this does not smell right.” Her reply: “!!!!…Quote:”

Dr. Eric Topol, a clinical trials expert at Scripps Research in San Diego, said it was “highly irregular” to see such a public display of friction between a monitoring board and a study sponsor, which are typically in close concordance.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said in an interview after the institute’s statement was released. “It’s so, so troubling.”

First Chinese Covid-19 cases may have been infected in October 2019, says new research South China Morning Post (resilc)

Covid-19 Flight From Hell: My Run-In With An Infected Passenger Forbes. I bet there were multiple violations of the Conditions of Carriage. Too bad he couldn’t have invoked a relevant section.

Covid 19 – Conspiracy Theories Unnecessary – By Walrus. Turcopoloer (Chuck L)

UK/Europe

Dutch ready to block AstraZeneca if UK deal fails Politico

Foreign holidays will be ILLEGAL from Monday: New Covid laws mean £5,000 fines for anyone leaving the UK without ‘reasonable excuse’ – and restrictions could last for some holiday hot-spots ALL summer Daily Mail

US

Variants Rise in Some States, Adding Urgency to Vaccine Push Bloomberg. Ahem, if long Covid is a significant driver of new variants, it’s not clear that vaccination will have all that much impact. The vaccines have been measured for efficacy in preventing severe infections and deaths, not asypmtomatic cases (at least the Pfizer vaccine, where clinical trial participants were not all tested regularly; you had to be symptomatic to be tested). Many long Covid cases were asymptomatic at onset. And even if it does keep or reduce the number getting long Covid, there’s still a significant pool of the afflicted out there who may continue incubating new variants.

Free DONUT deal for Covid-vaccinated reignites debate over Americans’ massive lockdown weight gains RT (Kevin W). “Now it’s safe to go back to getting diabetes.”

Finance/Economy

Winners, losers, and in-betweeners: How pharma companies stacked up in the Covid-19 vaccine race STAT

Sequencing the Post-COVID Recovery by Robert Skidelsky Project Syndicate. UserFriendly: “Well now I’ve heard everything, using Keynes and FDR to argue against Biden’s non-existent plan to reorder the economy to stop favoring the oligarchy.

China?

China retaliates after sanctions move by US, EU and UK Financial Times. Over the Uighurs.

Tiananmen Square, Uyghur Court: Tower Hamlets plans name changes in solidarity. “As the Chinese embassy prepares to move in, councillors vote to support the ‘freedom and diversity of our borough’” Guardian. This is not adult behavior. Shades of “freedom fries”.

Washington’s Delusion of Endless World Dominion TomDispatch (resilc)

Myanmar: Mass protests fail to attract global solidarity DW. Resilc: “Isn’t that a scene from Les Mis?”

Brexit

Brexit has already been a disaster for British trade Encompass

Old Blighty

JOB MEGXIT Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Archewell foundation director Catherine St-Laurent leaves after only a YEAR Sun

Harry and Meghan Finally Admit They Didn’t Have Secret Backyard Wedding Daily Beast. Everything verifiable that Meghan and Harry said in the Oprah interview with respect to the Royal Family is been false. I continue to be gobsmacked at the craven US coverage.

Syraqistan

New leaks show CIA pressured Yemen to release al-Qaeda leader and agency asset Anwar al-Awlaki Grayzone (Chuck L)

Thoughts On The Iraq Invasion Caitlin Johnstone (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Can We Stop Pretending SMS Is Secure Now? Brian Krebs (Robert M). From last week, still important.

Ikea France snooped on staff and customers for a decade, say prosecutors Boing Boing (resilc)

Zoom Court Videos Are Making People’s Darkest Hours Go Viral Vice (dk)

Tinder and OkCupid Could Soon Let You Background Check Your Date — for a Price ProPublica (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Biden’s firing squad stands in a circle Asia Times (Kevin W)

Trump

Sidney Powell says ‘no reasonable person’ would take her election fraud claims as fact as she calls to toss $1.3bn Dominion suit RT (Kevin W)

Biden

President Biden Announces his Intent to Nominate Lina Khan for Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission White House. Wowsers. Kahn is the real deal.

Officials head to Guatemala and Mexico amid rise in migrants at US border Guardian (resilc)

Sinema, Cornyn urge Biden to use ‘full authorities’ at border The Hill (resilc)

‘We Can Cancel All $1.8 Trillion,’ Say Activists as Cardona Announces Full Debt Relief for Scammed Students Common Dreams. From late last week….

Gunman shoots and kills at least 10 people at Boulder grocery store – including hero veteran cop, 51, who was first to respond: Footage shows handcuffed man covered in blood Daily Mail

Hedges: The Evil Within Us ScheerPost (Chuck L)

GOP Civil War

Trump ramps up activities, asserts power within GOP The Hill/

Democrats en déshabillé

Moderate Democrats warn leaders against meddling in Iowa race The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

The World Darkens a Little More: I May Have to Spend Some Time as a Political Prisoner Craig Murray

The Campaign of Lies Against Journalist Jesse Singal—And Why It Matters Quilette (UserFriendly). Important but also sobering.

The New Normal “Reality” Police CJ Hopkins. Not on board with all of Hopkins’ views, but this is absolutely nuts and also revealing. “Free speech” only exists in a public context, as in in the town square, in a public meeting (most of all in a government setting). Opinion, as long as it falls short of hate speech, advocacy of violence, or “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” is ever and always protected speech. But this all goes out the window on private platforms.

It’s All Just Displacement Freddie deBoer (UserFriendly). On Substack.

Sovereign Writers and Substack Stratechery (UserFriendly). Way overthinking this. Many writers want as close to a turnkey approach as possible. I spend a ton of time and meaningful hard $ on administrativa. But I had my own tiny consulting shop for many years so having to handle the business of this business isn’t an alien concept. And I value control a ton. By contrast, unlike many others, I prefer turnkey approaches to dealing with shelter and hate having to play property manager.

The Campaign of Lies Against Journalist Jesse Singal—And Why It Matters Quillette

The Bezzle

John Cleese has an NFT bridge to sell you for $69.3 million The Verge (resilc)

Artist Krista Kim sells “first NFT digital house” for over $500,000 Dezeen

Leon Black Steps Down as Apollo Chairman in Unexpected Move Wall Street Journal

UC’s deal with Elsevier: What it took, what it means, why it matters Berkeley News (UserFriendly)

The Flawed Inspection Process Under Scrutiny in Boeing 777 Engine Failures Wall Street Journal (John C)

Secret Calpers Meeting on CIO Meng’s Exit Sparks Legal Fight Bloomberg

Richest Americans Hide 20% Of Income, Costing You $175 Billion Annually Heisenberger Report (resilc). My world-recognized tax expert (lectures around the world and was calling for closing the carried interest loophole long before it was fashionable) is skeptical that the #s are this high. The US is better at identifying income of the super rich (taxing it is another matter, the IRS pretty much always loses big $ tax litigation cases, and that’s with trying to focus resources on winners). Says a most money that goes though the Caymans does not stay there, and so suspects double counting in Zucman’s numbers.

Factory blaze adds to computer chip supply crisis BBC (David L)

Retail Sales Fell 3.0% in February After January Sales Were Revised 1.9% Higher Angry Bear. But still 6.3% ahead of last year…

Texas Freeze Creates Global Plastics Shortage OilPrice (resilc)

The Persistent Compression of the Breakeven Inflation Curve Liberty Street Economics (UserFriendly)

Hospitals Hide Pricing Data From Search Results Wall Street Journal. Scumbags.

Class Warfare

Latest data: Black–white gaps widened and Hispanic–white gaps persisted as unemployment rates dropped overall Economic Policy Institute

Bernie Sanders tells Elon Musk to ‘focus on Earth’ and pay more tax Business Insider (resilc)

The Taxonomy of Student Debt Arguments Current Affairs https://www.currentaffairs.org/2021/03/the-taxonomy-of-student-debt-arguments

Amazon workers strike in Italy over pandemic-driven delivery demands Reuters Resilc: “Sat night at 745pm we get an amazon delivery. Some non-essential thing.”

Antidote du jour o4amuse: “California Sea Lions in Yaquina Bay, Newport Oregon.” Moi: I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity, but I could readily spend an afternoon with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, seated near sea lions like this, watching their antics. I’ve only seen them like this once, on a wharf in San Francisco, where someone worked out that leaving a few big square floating wooden platforms for their use would be a big tourist draw. They pile up on them, I assume to sun. They regularly readjust themselves, leading to some flopping and grumbling. Occasionally another sea lion will haul himself out of the water and try to force the others to open up a spot (there always seems to be more arrivals than departures), which will usually lead to a heated argument before the newcomer gets his place.

And a bonus (BC). I want whatever that dog is on:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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