/Links 10/25/2020

Links 10/25/2020

Jellies Transfer a Significant Amount of Carbon to the Deep Ocean EOS

Mediocre SPAC Returns Shouldn’t Be a Surprise Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg. Special-Purpose Acquisition Vehicle. They call it a “vehicle” because it’s designed to drive off with your money.


Has Covid killed off the flu? Experts pose the intriguing question as influenza cases nosedive by 98% across the globe Daily Mail

Covid traces located in Samut Prakan Bangkok Post. “The Department of Disease Control (DDC) yesterday said health authorities found the Covid-19 virus on the surface of an exercise fitness machine at a gym room of a quarantine place in Samut Prakan where a French woman who contracted the disease stayed.” Not an iron-clad case of fomite transmission without DNA analysis. Nevertheless.

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Host Immune Response Driving SARS-CoV-2 Evolution Viruses. From the abstract: “Llittle is known about SARS-CoV-2’s evolutionary characteristics and general trend. In this work, we present a comprehensive genotyping analysis of existing SARS-CoV-2 mutations. We reveal that host immune response via APOBEC and ADAR gene editing gives rise to near 65% of recorded mutations. Additionally, we show that children under age five and the elderly may be at high risk from COVID-19 because of their overreaction to the viral infection. Moreover, we uncover that populations of Oceania and Africa react significantly more intensively to SARS-CoV-2 infection than those of Europe and Asia, which may explain why African Americans were shown to be at increased risk of dying from COVID-19, in addition to their high risk of COVID-19 infection caused by systemic health and social inequities. ”

Comparative host-coronavirus protein interaction networks reveal pan-viral disease mechanisms Science. From the abstract: “Combining genetically-validated host factors with both COVID-19 patient genetic data and medical billing records identified important molecular mechanisms and potential drug treatments that merit further molecular and clinical study.” Billing records… Imagine if we were actually coding for, well, “the science”!

Neuropilin-1 facilitates SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and infectivity Science (MJL). From the abstract: “Pathological analysis of human COVID-19 autopsies revealed SARS-CoV-2 infected cells including olfactory neuronal cells facing the nasal cavity positive for [neuropilin-1 (NRP1)].”

Direct activation of the alternative complement pathway by SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins is blocked by factor D inhibition Blood. From the accompanying Johns Hopkins press release: “Brodsky and his colleagues hope that their work will encourage more study into the potential use against COVID-19 of complement-inhibiting drugs already in the pipeline for other diseases.”

Investigating Whether Blood Type Is Linked to COVID-19 Risk JAMA. The lead: “The notion that blood type might have prognostic value in COVID-19 is intriguing, but ‘we’re at the stage of trying to determine if this association is even real,’ Christopher Latz, MD, coauthor of one of the recent studies, cautioned in an interview.”

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Paid leave is good first step across the abyss:

Paid leave is, by definition, post-symptomatic, and so won’t block the main tranmission path. Even assuming it works, what Slavitt and his ilk need to show is that the residue of infection created by those unable to afford testing and treatment — never mind paid leave — is small enough so that the pandemic can be snuffed out even if such people are written. I don’t believe it will be, especially since service industries, child-care, and eldercare are all ill-paid, and so are likely to create super-spreader events in throughout the service economy, in daycare centers, and in nursing homes. It’s unlikely that testing and treatment will ever be free at the point of delivery, since that amounts to #MedicareForAll for this one disease, which a Biden administration would oppose on principle and because donors hate it. And we don’t want to give voters ideas. Obligatory caveat that I’d love to be wrong. (Slavitt, throughout this genuinely anguished thread, seems to assume everybody could get tested and treated if only they could take time off from work. That assumption is a little… blinkered.)

Amid pandemic, U.S. has seen 300,000 ‘excess deaths,’ with highest rates among people of color STAT

TEST AND FAKE Travellers using Photoshopped Covid test certificates to board flights as travel agents ‘sell negative results for £150′ The Sun (Re Silc).


China is well on its way to becoming a powerful centre of finance – it just needs to loosen up more South China Morning Post

Return to normalcy:

Can Nigeria’s #EndSARS protests lead to police abolition? Al Jazeera

The Koreas

A New Framework for Assessing Sanctions is Vital for Any New US Strategy on North Korea 38 North

Indonesian unions vow mass protests if president signs jobs law Reuters


Trump: Sudan to recognize Israel Politics

Israelis have Destroyed 1 mn Palestinian Olive Trees; this Month, they’re at it Again Informed Comment

Bonus: Will interviews Ollie Vargas about Bolivia (podcast) Chapo Trap House

Rail project through Brazilian Amazon questioned over impact on indigenous community Reuters


Italy Mulls Partial Lockdown as Cases, Hospitalizations Jump Bloomberg. The original headline: italy-mulls-curfew-virus-aid-as-naples-protest-turns-violent.

France teacher attack: Students ‘paid €300’ to identify Samuel Paty BBC

French startup Ynsect to build world’s biggest bug farm Reuters

The Liberal government is making a mockery of Canada’s parliamentary democracy Globe and Mail

Trump Transition

Trump’s Order Sets the Stage for Loyalty Tests for Thousands of Feds Government Executive

Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Tests Positive for Coronavirus Bloomberg

Wisconsin Republicans have been facing an outbreak among lawmakers and aides. But they don’t want to talk about it. Journal-Sentinel


What’s at stake? A short text on US elections Branko Milanovic, globalinequality

The press keeps depicting long lines to vote as some sort of victory. It’s not:

Republicans crash Florida early vote, eating into Democrats’ lead Politico

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In the homestretch, signs Trump’s hard-sell seniors pitch may be falling short NBC

Donald Trump Is No ‘Phony’ Populist The American Conservative. “[O]ne set of official figures that’s especially good at gauging the fortunes of Mr. Trump’s core supporters over time [is] the Labor Department’s quarterly County Employment and Wages series. The final 2019 figures are out, and reveal a striking pattern when matched with the list of counties that voted for Mr. Obama in both 2008 and 2012 and then flipped for Mr. Trump: Average annual private-sector pay in most of these flip counties rose faster during the first three years of the Trump administration than during the last three years of the Mr. Obama’s presidency.”

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The Unspectacular Excellence of Joe Biden’s Slow and Steady Campaign Politico

Biden breaks all-time television spending record The Hill

Long-standing claims of Biden corruption all but confirmed with Hunter’s emails NY Post.

Biden pushes back on Trump: ‘Crass’ to go after political rival’s children The HIll

Pushing Biden left:

Obama didn’t stand up Biden to enact Sanders’ agenda, or any part of it.

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Symposium: The particular perils of emergency election cases SCOTUSblog

Shares of gun makers gain as Biden’s lead grows Channel News Asia

The Debates

Debate: If this is the future of foreign policy, we’re in trouble Responsible Statecraft

Our Famously Free Press

With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story Matt Taibbi. For example:

Latin America (dk):

Latin America:

Feeling safe:

Facebook demands academics disable ad-targeting data tool AP

Intelligence Community

The code-breakers who led the rise of computing Nature. The headline is deceptive. The deck is better: “World wars, cold wars, cyberwars — marking a century of state surveillance at GCHQ.” The Five Eyes is mentioned only in the text.

Why the NSA Told Henry Kissinger to Drop Dead When He Tried to Cut Intel Links with Britain Daily Beast

Imperial Collapse Watch

Obama Couldn’t Fix the System. Biden Must. Sarada Peri, The Atlantic. I don’t know what the Obama’s former speechwriter is talking about; the system was totally fixed under Obama. I would like to believe that the Obama Alumni Association, together with its new allies from the Bush administration, will deliver the “hope and change” that Obama promised in a Biden administration, this time around. It would be nice if several enormous domestic gaslighting operations and incipient press censorship turned out to be needed only to get the liberal Democrats on base, and that they’ll round home with “Rooseveltian” reform. I have my doubts that a Biden administration will hit it out of the park; pop flies and damp squibs seem more likely than not. Self-reflection and learning from history seem not to command a premium in the liberal Democrat base, the professional managerial class. They have their minds on other, more important things.

Against Nostalgia Zeynep Tufekci, Insight

Sitcom Nation Morris Berman, Dark Ages America. Musical interlude.

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral Ed Yong, The Atlantic. Well worth a read.

The Groves of Academe

Online testing:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

We’re All Living In A Future Created By Slavery Hampton Institute

Class Warfare

Why the urban poor will be forced to leave big cities FT

Without a ‘Right to Garden’ Law, It May Be Illegal to Grow Your Own Food Civil Eats

Hold Your Lugnuts: A Right to Repair Automotive Opera in Seven Scenes Dig Boston. Right-to-repair is covered regularly at NC. See, e.g., here, here, here, and here.

Evolutionary Psychology: Predictively Powerful or Riddled with Just-So Stories? Areo

Should animals have legal personality? FT

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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