/Links 12/11/2020

Links 12/11/2020

Rats love driving tiny cars, even when they don’t get treats Ars Technica

World’s biggest mammal migration under threat Al Jazeera

Drug Middlemen Shift Arguments to Escape Liability, State Laws Bloomberg Law

‘A total blessing’: Sacramento County gives $1,000 payments to residents affected by COVID-19 Sacramento Bee (JJ). Unlike Holyoke, MA (possibly because Holyoke has an insurgent mayor Mass Democrats hope to stifle).


FDA advisory panel endorses Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine STAT. Very useful live blog of the proceedings. However:

Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline hit with a major delay on Covid-19 vaccine program as their first jab flops in older adults EndPoints

Covid: Australian vaccine abandoned over false HIV response BBC

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Phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in Boston highlights the impact of superspreading events Science. Pulling out one sentence:

“Our findings highlight the close relationships between seemingly disconnected groups and populations: viruses from international business travel seeded major outbreaks among individuals experiencing homelessness, spread throughout the Boston area including to other higher risk communities, and were exported to other domestic and international sites.”

We’ve seen a million fingerwagging posts about bikers and Sturgis, and virtually nothing about international air travel that infected the whole country to begin with. Odd.

Potential Causes and Consequences of Gastrointestinal Disorders during a SARS-CoV-2 Infection Cell Reports. From Concluding Remarks: “The complex pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is only starting to be deciphered. Along with the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract is an entry and replication site for SARS-CoV-2. The gut constitutes one of the main extrapulmonary target organs with regard to symptoms and is a potential route for virus dissemination; its role therefore needs to be actively explored. In particular, several lines of evidence suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with alteration of the gut microbiota. It remains to be determined whether the gut microbiota influences the gastrointestinal and pulmonary signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and overall mortality. Putative changes in the gut microbiota’s composition and functional activity might be biomarkers of disease severity. Lastly, and if the gut microbiota does prove to affect the disease’s severity and mortality rate, targeting the microbiota’s various components might be an attractive therapeutic strategy.”

How kids’ immune systems can evade COVID Nature

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There’s Still Time to Beat Covid Without Lockdowns Bloomberg. The deck: “South Korea’s successful approach of regimented masking, aggressive testing, and high-tech contact tracing is a blueprint for the U.S. and other democracies.” If that’s the kind of building you want to build, yes.


US-China decoupling: has China cast aside US threat with booming exports in 2020? South China Morning Post

Stupid China declares trade war on itself Macrobusiness

China’s C919 commercial jet aspirations are overblown and no threat to Boeing or Airbus, Washington think tank finds South China Morning Post. Handy diagram:

IIRC, the wing is the one component Boeing has never sought to outsource. So with China, it seems. Nevertheless.

Chinese tech companies bet big on India. Now they’re being shut out CNN

China launches ‘gray-zone’ warfare to subdue Taiwan Reuters

The U.S. Was Late to China’s Rise 20 Years Ago. What Is It Missing Today? World Politics Review

U.S. crackdown on Huawei hands Japan a 5G lifeline Japan Times

How homogeneous is Japan? Noah Smith, Noahpinion

Hundreds work against the clock for first made-in-Vietnam Covid-19 vaccine Vietnam Express

The Koreas

North Korea wasted chance to improve relations under Trump, U.S. envoy says Reuters

Asia’s Unequal Recovery Sounds Alarm for Global Economic Rebound Bloomberg


Beirut explosion: Lebanon’s caretaker PM Hassan Diab and three former ministers charged Sky News

Trump sells out future of global food security for Morocco-Israel normalization deal Responsible Statecraft

Exclusive: U.S. says reports of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray are ‘credible’ Reuters


EU countries agree historic €1.8tn budget and recovery package FT. So maybe now they’ll have time for BoJo.


Johnson Appeal for Brexit Help Frustrated by Summit Deadlock Bloomberg

EU contingency preparations:

A note of exasperation in the last sentence?

Brexit stockpiling: ‘I can’t get my wine out of the EU’ BBC. Foodstuffs, here we go…

The DUP, facing a unionist backlash, must be wishing for soft Brexit Irish Times

Mexico’s COVID-19 deaths average 55 years vs. 75 in Europe AP


Barr Worked to Keep Hunter Biden Probes From Public View During Election WSJ

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States Urge Supreme Court to Declare Election Over, Reject Texas Bid Bloomberg. Pennsylvania’s brief against. Republicans file amicus brief, supporting Texas:

Why We Question The Election Results The American Conservative

The GOP Abandons Democracy The Atlantic

Website targeting U.S. election officials draws attention of intelligence agencies Reuiters

Biden Transition

Joe Biden Said He’d “Follow the Science” on the Pandemic. He Isn’t. Jacobin

Some of this has been downright Orwellian. After Osterholm — now on Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board — told Yahoo Finance the US government should financially cover workers and businesses for a four-to-six-week national lockdown, he was not only swiftly contradicted by both Biden’s spokesperson and Fauci and forced to walk the comment back, but by other science advisers on Biden’s task force, too, who quickly closed ranks and insisted on the same strategy Boris Johnson had pursued in defiance of scientific advice: a more limited, “targeted” approach.

If we financially covered workers, that would give them ideas. Can’t have that. Remember “Rooseveltian” relief? Good times.

Biden chooses Denis McDonough as Secretary of Veterans Affairs Stars and Stripes. Obama’s Chief of Staff. Odd.

Biden’s choice to lead USDA is sparking a broad backlash. Here’s why. The Counter

Pentagon pick may need GOP rescue Axios

Inside Biden’s Meeting with Civil Rights Leaders The Intercept

Sanders, Hawley team up to demand vote on second round of stimulus checks The Hill (Re Silc).

Not wild-eyed radicals, either:

Democrats in Disarray

Trump’s Gone, So What’s Next for the Democrats? Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Sen. Bernie Sanders says Democrats delayed COVID-19 relief NY Post

Facebook, Google Risk Fines Up to 6% Revenue Under New EU Rules Bloomberg

Monopoly Versus Democracy Zephyr Teachout, Foreign Affairs


We can have democracy or we can have Facebook, but we can’t have both Anand Giridharadas, The Ink. With Stoller.

The Smoking Gun in the Facebook Antitrust Case Wired

“Facebook Gets Paid” Buzzfeed

Section 230 is Good, Actually EFF

Class Warfare

Working at a Nursing Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic Is a Daily Heartbreak Teen Vogue

Couch Surfing the Waves of American Poverty Current Affairs

Poverty, depression, and anxiety: Causal evidence and mechanisms Science

Museum of Difference The Baffler

China flight attendants advised to wear diapers for coronavirus protection ABC7

The Receding Horizon of Travel’s Return NYT

Antidote du jour (WB):

WB writes: “I owned my only cat 44 years ago – Serge, a sweet-tempered and beautiful Russian Blue.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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