/Links 12/7/2020

Links 12/7/2020

This Unusual Bird Superpower Goes Back to the Dinosaur Extinction NYT

Plenty of fish in the sea? Scientists can now count them using DNA ABC

Water Futures to Start Trading Amid Growing Fears of Scarcity Bloomberg

Foggy metrics obscure value of cloud companies FT

Housing booms, reallocation and productivity (PDF) Sebastian Doerr, Bank for International Settlements. From the Abstract: “I establish that US public firms holding real estate have persistently lower levels of productivity than non-holders. Rising real estate values relax collateral constraints for companies that own real estate and allow them to expand production. Consequently, an increase in house prices reallocates capital and labor towards inefficient firms, with negative consequences for aggregate industry productivity.”

An Economy of Godzillas: Salesforce, Slack, and Microsoft Matt Stoller, BIG

BIS, Swiss National Bank and SIX announce successful wholesale CBDC experiment (press release) Bank of International Settlements. CDBC = Central Bank Digital Currency

Airbus Bets on Hydrogen to Deliver Zero-Emission Jets Bloomberg

Is it Too Late to Save ‘America’s Amazon’? The Revelator. A river.


Therapeutically administered ribonucleoside analogue MK-4482/EIDD-2801 blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets Nature. From the Abstract: “We demonstrate high SARS-CoV-2 burden in nasal tissues and secretions, which coincided with efficient transmission through direct contact. Therapeutic treatment of infected animals with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 twice a day significantly reduced the SARS-CoV-2 load in the upper respiratory tract and completely suppressed spread to untreated contact animals. This study identified oral MK-4482/EIDD-2801 as a promising antiviral countermeasure to break SARS-CoV-2 community transmission chains.” Big if true (DL): “If this ferret-based data is translated into humans, Covid-19 patients treated with [Monulparivir] could become non-infectious within 24 hours of starting treatment. The drug can be taken orally.”

* * *
Durability of Responses after SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 Vaccination (letter) NEJM. “At the 100-μg dose, mRNA-1273 produced high levels of binding and neutralizing antibodies that declined slightly over time, as expected, but they remained elevated in all participants 3 months after the booster vaccination.” Technical detail above my paygrade; perhaps a helpful reader can translate.

* * *How a First World country handles testing:


Screens showing CO2 level set up at venues to lessen virus risk The Asahi Shimbun. “The [CO2] figure indicates the air indoors is being appropriately exchanged.”

New CRISPR-based test for COVID-19 uses a smartphone camera Medcial Xpress. More precisely, it uses a swab and a camera.

* * *
Dust can spread influenza among guinea pigs, raising coronavirus questions Science News (nvl). From August, still germane. Still, if I had to pick a source for “aerosolized fomites,” it would be a guinea pig’s cage. More research needed!

* * *
Employers debate whether to require COVID-19 vaccine for workers The Hill (Furzy Mouse).

Get Ready for False Side Effects Derek Lowe, “In the Pipeline,” Science

How is COVID-19 affecting student learning? Brookings Institution

Did Viruses Create the Nucleus? The Answer May Be Near. Quanta (DL).


Can a New Regulation Fix China’s ‘Big Data Backstabbing’ Problem? Sixth Tone

Flush with cash, Chinese hog producer builds world’s largest pig farm Reuters

This Japanese Shop Is 1,020 Years Old. It Knows a Bit About Surviving Crises. NYT


India and China gear up for a new battle, this time over water South China Morning Post

Covid vaccines will be available for private purchase in India FT

Malaysia reports 1,335 new COVID-19 cases Channel News Asia

Tale of two Belt and Road Initiative port projects in Malaysia shows limits of Chinese money South China Morning Post

Indonesia receives first COVID vaccine from China’s Sinovac Reuters

Indonesian minister and two senior ministry officials detained for bribery related to Covid-19 aid package Straits Times

How COVID-19 undid Duterte’s poser government in the Philippines Nikkei Asia

Pandemic pushes Filipinos out of labor force, especially women The Rappler


Driving by Israeli settlements in colonized Palestine Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon


UK may drop parts of bills which breach NI Protocol if ‘long-term legal solution found’ RTE

Brexit: Barnier gives EU diplomats ‘very gloomy’ assessment of progress in UK-EU trade talks – politics live Guardian

Barnier tells EU officials he ‘cannot guarantee’ Brexit trade deal FT

Revealed: The ‘reasonable worst case’ if EU talks collapse ITV


Wealthy London Areas with Low Covid Case Rates Included in Rapid Testing Programme Byline Times. Surely not.

Another Victim of Global Warming: The Great British Bake Off Wired

Venezuela’s Maduro claims sweep of boycotted election AP

New Cold War

Clock is Ticking on New START Extension Air Force Magazine

Russians are wary of Putin’s vaccine The Spectator


Well, well:


Move along, people, move along. There’s no story here.

Trump Transition

Azar calls Biden claim on vaccine plan ‘nonsense’ The Hill

Biden Transition

Biden picks California Atty. Gen. Becerra for Health and Human Services secretary LA Times. I don’t know why Biden wants a lawyer heading HHS. And if Becerra were anything but a placeholder in California’s corrupt Blue oligarchy, Marcie Frost wouldn’t still be at CalPERS.

To rebuild CDC, Biden picks Rochelle Walensky Politico. “Give a central role to career officials.” Hopefully not career officials who butchered the test rollout and dragged their feet on aerosols, eh?

Biden’s 100-day mask plan ‘a good idea,’ Trump’s vaccine chief says Politico

Health Care

Colchicine a Case Study for What’s Wrong With US Drug Pricing MedScape

Imperial Collapse Watch

The New Comedy of American Decline The Atlantic

Bro Culture, Fitness, Chivalry, and American Identity Patrick Wyman, Perspectives. Well worth a read (though it trails off at the end).

Guillotine Watch

The Super-Rich Are Buying Luxury Online Like Never Before Bloomberg

‘Existential Peril’: Mass Transit Faces Huge Service Cuts Across U.S. NYT

Class Warfare

Tipped Service Workers Are More Vulnerable Amid Pandemic Harassment Spike: Study NPR (dk).

Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing Pro Publica

I’ll Tell You Why the 99% Isn’t In Revolt We Do the Work (the author). From January, still germane.

Luxury Sneaker Markets Are a Preview of Capitalist Dystopia Jacobin

“Almost the Complete Opposite of Fascism” (interview) Corey Robin, Jewish Currents. Today’s must-read.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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