/Links 10/24/2020

Links 10/24/2020

First Asian giant hornet nest in US found in Whatcom County to be eradicated this weekend King5

A Chasm Deepens in America’s Credit Markets, Swallowing Smaller Firms Bloomberg. You say “swallowing smaller firms” like that’s a bad thing.

Wells Fargo May Deprive Investors Of Its Peerless Service And Customer Care Dealbreaker

Virtual branch concept making inroads in U.S. American Banker

When Going Green Backfires: Eco-Friendly Car Wiring in Newer Cars Apparently Attracts Rats Core77 (Re Silc).

It’s Official: Solar Is the Cheapest Electricity in History Popular Mechanics (Re Silc).


How Straight Talk Helped One State Control COVID (interview) Scientific American. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control. Today’s must read.

The engines of SARS-CoV-2 spread Science. Another must-read.

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Modeling COVID-19 scenarios for the United States Nature (popularization in STAT). From the abstract: “We find that achieving universal mask use (95% mask use in public) could be sufficient to ameliorate the worst effects of epidemic resurgences in many states. Universal mask use could save an additional 129,574 (85,284–170,867) lives from September 22, 2020 through the end of February 2021, or an additional 95,814 (60,731–133,077) lives assuming a lesser adoption of mask wearing (85%), when compared to the reference scenario.” • The model aggregates several natural experiments conducted in the United States and abroad:

Mask use has emerged as a contentious issue in the United States with only 49% of US residents reporting that they ‘always’ wear a mask in public as of 21 September 2020 (https://covid19.healthdata.org/). Regardless, toward the end of 2020, masks could help to contain a second wave of resurgence while reducing the need for frequent and widespread implementation of SDMs. Although 95% mask use across the population may seem a high threshold to achieve and maintain, on a neighborhood scale this level has already been observed in areas of New York (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/20/nyregion/nyc-face-masks.html); and on a state level, reported mask use has exceeded 60% in Virginia, Florida and California (see Supplementary Information for related methods). In countries where mask use has been widely adopted, such as Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Iceland among others, transmission has declined and, in some cases, halted (https://covid19.healthdata.org/). These examples serve as additional natural experiments of the likely effects of masks and support the assumptions and findings from the universal mask-use scenario in our study. The potential life-saving benefit of increasing mask use in the coming fall and winter cannot be overstated.

“Regardless” is doing a lot of work there. If the tactic used to increase mask usage is shaming, it’s likely to backfire where mask uptake is needed most. (The historical analogy is the AIDS epidemic, where shaming failed to increase condom usage). Perhaps Biden’s famous albeit not systemically-applied empathy will percolate downward through the liberal nomenklatura, and shaming and fingerwagging will be abandoned as tactics. However, I fear they are too deeply embedded in the collective psyche of the professional-managerial class for that to happen (and, in any case, “Othering” is embedded not merely in the liberal Democrat psyche, but more to the point, in its fundraising.) I would be extremely happy to be wrong. (A paranoid and cynical person over-hasty to “connect the dots” will immediately connect Nature’s endorsement of Biden with recommendations for masking published in its pages, the “horns effect” of the former discrediting the latter, and producing, for that readership, exactly the result that the good people at Nature hoped not to produce. For example, how can this possibly achieve its putatively desired goal:

Oh well, regardless….

How an Aversion to Masks Stems From ‘Toxic Masculinity’ NYT

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SARS-CoV-2 Is Restricted by Zinc Finger Antiviral Protein despite Preadaptation to the Low-CpG Environment in Humans American Society for Microbiology. From the Abtract: “Recent evidence shows that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is sensitive to interferons (IFNs). However, the most effective types of IFNs and the underlying antiviral effectors remain to be defined. Here, we show that zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP), which preferentially targets CpG dinucleotides in viral RNA sequences, restricts SARS-CoV-2.” Zinc stans rejoice!

Coronavirus: Germany improves ventilation to chase away Covid BBC. “Fresh air has, for a while now, been seen as a key to dealing with coronavirus too. L for Luft (air) was recently added to A for Abstand (distance), H for Hygiene and A for Alltagsmaske (mask) – the official government directives on how to live in corona times.” There’s a lot to be said for Victorian remedies.

Tilt & Turn: Ingenious Three-in-One Window for Security, Breezes & Egress 99% Invisible. German HVAC capabilities may be different from other countries.

IZA DP No. 13790: School Re-Openings after Summer Breaks in Germany Did Not Increase SARS-CoV-2 Cases Institute of Labor Economics. From the abtract: “We conclude that school re-openings in Germany under strict hygiene measures combined with quarantine and containment measures have not increased the number of newly confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections.” However (see above) German HVAC may differ from the rest of the world.

Ultrastructural analysis of SARS-CoV-2 interactions with the host cell via high resolution scanning electron microscopy Nature. Amazing photos.

Mouthwashes, oral rinses may inactivate human coronaviruses (press release) Penn State News

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Covid-19 vaccine trials from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson to restart STAT

US regulators seek advice on thorny issues as vaccines near AP

North Dakota seeks to repurpose coronavirus aid for fracking AP

Mexico will not follow FDA in approving Gilead’s COVID-19 drug Reuters


New World Disorder: will a US-China cold war and Covid-19 finally kill off the United Nations? South China Morning Post

US Coast Guard to tackle China ‘illegal’ fishing in Pacific Inquirer.net

Teardown of DJI drone reveals secrets of its competitive pricing Nikkei Asia Review

China Wants a Baby Boom. Its Parents Aren’t Interested. Sixth Tone

Jokowi issues presidential regulation on vaccination Jakarta Post

Japan set to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 in policy shift Channel News Asia

Mitsubishi Heavy to freeze development of SpaceJet regional jet – sources Reuters. It turns out that aircraft aren’t easy to manufacture. As Boeing forgot.


US rebukes Turkey after Russian missile system test FT

New Cold War

Putin: Russia-China military alliance can’t be ruled out AP. Hey, The Blob, good job.

The World Composes Itself: What Was Impossible Yesterday May Become Reality Tomorrow Valdai Discussion Club

Russia Has Secret Novichok Nerve-Agent Program, Bellingcat Says Bloomberg. I’m printing this not so much for the story — I mean, obviously Russia needs a Novichok program, because the stuff keeps embarrassingly failing in high profile cases — but because Bloomberg’s editor, who wrote the headline, is treating Blob creature Bellingcat as a serious source.

Magic Novichok Craig Murray

Trump Transition

Trump’s ‘Stephen Miller acolytes’ in the civil service could destroy a Biden administration from within, insiders say Independent


Back at the Brexit table, UK and EU try to land deal on fish Reuters


Biden says he will start working on coronavirus relief during transition if elected Politico. America has two Presidents!

Joe Biden lays out a detailed plan to fight coronavirus as new infections soar CNBC

Biden pledges free Covid vaccine for ‘everyone’ in US if elected Agence France Presse. So, #MedicareForAll for this one disease (although, to be fair, catching SARS-COV2 is both effectively means-tested and about as complex an eligibility requirement as you can imagine, so you can fit Biden’s “pledge” into the liberal Democrat policy frame by applying a little brute force and ignorance).

Biden plans to reset ‘America First’ foreign policy FT. “Many European capitals hope the tone of Mr Biden’s foreign policy will help assuage fears that the liberal international order and its rules-based multilateralism is in danger of collapsing.”

What the Google suit may look like if Biden wins Politico

Sanders hits back at Trump’s attack on ‘socialized medicine’ The Hill. Wellie…

The flip side to “push Biden left” is “Biden circles back later and mops up the left.”

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Furious liberals demand CNN fire Obama adviser Van Jones for saying Trump ‘doesn’t get credit’ for the ‘good things’ he has done for the black community Daily Mail

Trump Storms Back Into Interview While Leslie Stahl Eating Lunch At Home The Onion

In brutal rebuke, a second Bay of Pigs invasion fighter rejects Trump endorsement Miami Herald

A man can dream:

Policies, Persons, and Paths to Ruin desiringGod (Re Silc).

Americans Are Frantically Buying Military Gear Before the Election Bloomberg (Re Silc).

1986 MIKOYAN MIG 29 Trade-A-Plane (Re Silc). Re Silc comments: “[D]on’t know about you but I’m getting ready for the election.” Say what you will about the Russian arms industry, they certainly make lethal-looking aircraft (especially compared to that airborne tub of lard, the F-35).

Democrats in Disarray

Exclusive: Mayor and First Lady of Los Angeles Ignored Years of Warnings About Top Aide, Sources Say Yashar’s Newsletter

Health Care

Spillover Effects Of The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Drive Long-Term Health Consequences For Non-COVID-19 Patients Health Affairs

Our Famously Free Press

It is all just a metaphor: The New York Times attempts yet another desperate defense of its discredited 1619 Project WSWS

Imperial Collapse Watch

Elon Musk and the U.S. military plan to build a reusable 7,500mph rocket that can deliver 80 tonnes of cargo, including weapons, anywhere in the world in 60 minutes Daily Mail

‘Something Extremely Bad Is Happening Here’ Esquire. A death of despair.

‘We’re a long way from anywhere else’: Small U.S. cities hit with airline service cuts in pandemic CNBC

Class Warfare

Pandemic makes world’s billionaires — and their advisers — richer FT. So let ‘er rip!

Amazon workers threaten to shut down warehouses if employees don’t get a day off to vote. NYT. If voting were a national holiday, they wouldn’t need to. (Granted, nationwide voting on one day discourages partisan affiliation (“Vote Blue No Matter Who”), where early voting encourages it, but perhaps the country can live with weakended political parties.

New York readers (and those who order online):

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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