/Links 10/2/2020

Links 10/2/2020

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Gray parrots separated at zoo after swearing a blue streak AP (JH).

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end National Geographic

Why are pension funds investing in hedge funds? MarketWatch. Because they’re not reading Naked Capitalism. Obviously.

Big Companies Are Starting to Swallow the World Austan Goolsbee, NYT. Stoller comments:

Never let a crisis go to waste…

Disneyland’s push to reopen sets up critical moment in California’s coronavirus fight Los Angeles Times. URL, i.e. author’s title: disney-layoffs-pressure-newsom-coronavirus-restrictions

Worried about more shortages, grocery stores are stockpiling goods CNN

Could 80,000 family woodlot owners be the key to saving the Acadian forest? The Narwhale


Investors grapple with bizarre US election cycle FT

Why Vote in 2020? The Election Is Not Just About Trump vs. Biden Teen Vogue. URL, i.e. author’s title: why-vote-in-2020-our-time-is-now

Biden transition elevates former Facebook exec as ethics arbiter Politico. Come on, man.

Trump: ‘I condemn all white supremacists’ The Hill (UserFriendly).

As Trump Equivocates on White Supremacy, the FBI Warns of Right-Wing Terror The Nation

“Trump Is So Saturated”: Anti-Trump Attack Ads Might Actually Be Helping Him, Democratic Group Finds Vanity Fair

Trump’s Case of COVID-19

Lambert here: On the case of COVID-19 that POTUS and FLOTUS both have, outcomes range from the entire political class being infected to Trump emerging from a mild case, victorious and indestructible, after having dominated the news cycle for two weeks without saying anything (unless he tweets his way through, like AOC). What we need is some good, old-fashioned epidemiological contact tracing of Trump’s circle from public sources, with a handy map (i.e., with what we know now, it’s easy but wrong to say Hope Hicks gave it to Trump, since both could have gotten it from a common third party). It would be ideal to know if there are any superspreaders involved. Mere timelines are insufficient. On whether Trump gave Covid to Biden at the debate through aerosol transmission by talking or shouting, I would very much like to know about the HVAC system in the auditorium and potential circulation patterns, since, with aerosols, social-distancing the podia would not be sufficient for safety. I would want to know if outside air is circulated, and (speculating, here) I would like to know if TV lighting has any effects. I would also want to know who, if anybody, on the various staffs involved checked all this out. Presumably some news-gathering organization, if any such still exist, has devoted some real resources to answering questions like these.

Donald Trump tests positive for coronavirusm Politico. Politico EU seems to have been first out of the gate (after Trump tweeted it out).`From the White House:

Trump Just Delivered the Ultimate October Surprise John Authers, Bloomberg

The Masque of the Red Death Edgar Allan Poe, Project Gutenberg

Traders Warn of Market Volatility as Trump Tests Positive Bloomberg

If the President Tests Positive for the Virus, What Happens? Bloomberg. From May 2020, still germane.

The President Contracting COVID-19 Is A Major National Security Crisis The Drive. Speaking of which:

One reaction:


Heavy on the science:

SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence among a Southern U.S. Population Indicates Limited Asymptomatic Spread under Physical Distancing Measures American Society for Microbiology. North Carolina: “The low, overall prevalence may reflect the success of shelter-in-place mandates at the time this study was performed and of maintaining effective physical distancing practices among suburban populations. Under these public health measures and aggressive case finding, outbreak clusters did not spread into the general population.”

Super-spreading events initiated the exponential growth phase of COVID-19 with ℛ0 higher than initially estimated Royal Society Open Medicine. From the abstract: “The simulations revealed two-phase dynamics, in which an initial phase of relatively slow epidemic progression diverts to a faster phase upon appearance of infectious super-spreaders.”

Mass screening of asymptomatic persons for SARS-CoV-2 using saliva Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Conclusion: “Both nasopharyngeal and saliva specimens had high sensitivity and specificity. Self-collected saliva is a valuable specimen to detect SARS-CoV-2 in mass screening of asymptomatic persons.”

SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides define heterologous and COVID-19-induced T cell recognition Nature. The abstract: “T cell immunity is central for the control of viral infections. To characterize T cell immunity, but also for the development of vaccines, identification of exact viral T cell epitopes is fundamental…. Diversity of SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses was associated with mild symptoms of COVID-19, providing evidence that immunity requires recognition of multiple epitopes. Together, the proposed SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes enable identification of heterologous and post-infectious T cell immunity and facilitate development of diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic measures for COVID-19.” (“Epitope, also called antigenic determinant, portion of a foreign protein, or antigen, that is capable of stimulating an immune response.”)) This is really above my paygrade, and Covid Twitter seems to regard this as controversial, so hopefully readers will weigh in.

Efficacy and Safety of Hydroxychloroquine vs Placebo for Pre-exposure SARS-CoV-2 Prophylaxis Among Health Care Workers: A Randomized Clinical Trial JAMA. Conclusions: “This randomized clinical trial did not detect a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 transmission with prophylactic administration of hydroxychloroquine, and all participants who did contract SARS-CoV-2 were either asymptomatic or had mild disease courses with full recoveries. As such, we cannot recommend the routine use of hydroxychloroquine among HCWs to prevent COVID-19.”

The Surgisphere Scandal: What Went Wrong? The Scientist (nvl).


Beware the China Reset Foreign Policy

China’s sabre-rattling over Taiwan rises as US tensions grow FT


Pressure mounts to scrap ‘failed’ contact tracing contracts as renewal looms Open Democracy

Irish court rules Subway loaves are too sugary to be called bread CNN. What are they called then? Cake?


Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen to hold Brexit talks on Saturday FT

UK stands by Internal Market Bill after EU opens legal case: spokesman Reuters

New Cold War

“I Assert that Putin Was Behind the Crime” Der Spiegel (DB).

Controlling oil, controlling development Mondoweiss

Trump Transition

House passes $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill amid faltering talks Roll Call. Should have been done before they left on vacation.

Donald Trump’s Bailout of Fossil Fuel Companies May Cost States $280 Billion Jacobin

Donald Trump’s four years in power have ‘totally changed manufacturing’, say US firms forced to rethink supply chains South China Morning Post

Internal document shows Trump officials were told to make comments sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse NBC

Amy Coney Barrett signed an ad in 2006 urging overturning the ‘barbaric legacy’ of Roe v. Wade. NYT

The Trump Administration Lost Millions of Dollars of Food and Water Meant For Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria Buzzfeed

America Is About to Enter Its Years of Lead Foreign Policy

Former QAnon Followers Explain What Drew Them In — And Got Them Out Rolling Stone. The QAnon moral panic went away, to be replaced by the white supremacy moral panic. (Not to say that these phenomena aren’t real; just to say that they are not real in the whatever way the moral panic profiteers say that they are.)

Major U.S. diocese becomes largest to file for bankruptcy after 200 sexual abuse lawsuits CNN

Our Famously Free Press

Google will spend $1 billion to pay publishers for news showcase Axios


UK judge to give Assange’s U.S. extradition verdict early next year Reuters

Crumbling Case Against Assange Shows Weakness of “Hacking” Charges Related to Whistleblowing The Intercept

Revealed: Key Assange prosecution witness is part of academic cluster which has received millions of pounds from UK and US militaries Declassified UK

US-linked security sources discussed kidnapping or poisoning Julian Assange, London court told ABC Australia

Imperial Collapse Watch

US comms watchdog calls for more scrutiny of submarine cables that land in ‘adversary countries’ The Register

The Navy’s Plan For 530 Ships Is All Washed Up The American Conservative

Class Warfare

No, the Recession Isn’t Over—and It’s About to Get Much Worse for Some Time

COVID Didn’t Destroy New York. Austerity Just Might. Slate

Building the Mathematical Library of the Future Quanta

Why is the world going to hell? Netflix’s The Social Dilemma tells only half the story Jonathan Cook

Festive Corn Maze Misread By Aliens As Declaration Of Intergalactic War The Onion. Plot twist!

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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