/Links 1/20/2021

Links 1/20/2021

Butterflies create jet propulsion with a clap of their wings Agence France Presse

Pikas are adapting to climate change High Country News

Possibly The Most Incredible Wave in Surf History Was Ridden Last Week Adventure Journal (AL).

Time to look again at the financial system’s dangerous faultlines FT

A cloacal opening in a non-avian dinosaur Current Biology. This is a family blog. We don’t write headlines for clicks like Live Science.

Premature mortality due to air pollution in European cities: a health impact assessment The Lancet (Ignacio). From the discussion: “More than 400 000 deaths (equating to 7% of annual mortality) in Europe were attributable to PM2·5 exposure and more than 70 000 deaths (equating to 1% of annual mortality) were attributable to NO2 exposure. Moreover, these mortality estimates were when concentrations of air pollution were below the recommendations given in the EU and WHO guidelines.”


The effect of early treatment with ivermectin on viral load, symptoms and humoral response in patients with non-severe COVID-19: A pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial The Lancet

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What we now know — and don’t know — about the coronavirus variants STAT

Can I Be Re-Infected with the New Variant If I’ve Had Covid-19? (FAQ) National Institute for Communicable Diseases (South Africa).

Molecular dynamic simulation reveals E484K mutation enhances spike RBD-ACE2 affinity and the combination of E484K, K417N and N501Y mutations (501Y.V2 variant) induces conformational change greater than N501Y mutant alone, potentially resulting in an escape mutant (preprint) bioRxiv

BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine found effective against Covid-19 variant FT. In vitro, by the companies. Note the competing interest statement.

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Exploring the Supply Chain of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines Jonas Neubert

Europe and Canada are facing temporary hits to coronavirus vaccine supply while Pfizer renovates a Belgian plant to eventually produce more doses Business Insider

Why some older people are getting the vaccine in Southern California but others are striking out LA Times. Some go to Happyville, some go to Pain CIty. Randomly.

Vaccine registration technology is failing. Here’s how the Biden administration could fix it STAT

How Operation Warp Speed Created Vaccination Chaos Pro Publica. The last mile problem.

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Op-Ed: Throw Away Your Mask After COVID Vaccination? vs Op-Ed: Now Is Not the Time to Relax COVID Restrictions MedPage

Nosocomial COVID Mike the Mad Biologist

Thousands of Israelis Tested Positive for Coronavirus After First Vaccine Shot Haaretz. Hopefully, as they would, because this vaccine (we learn in paragraph eight) is Pfizer’s, which requires two shots.

Israel trades Pfizer doses for medical data in vaccine blitz AP


Biden’s top diplomat pick says Trump ‘right’ to be tough on China Nikkei Asian Review

How China’s defence law changes pave the way for greater global military influence South China Morning Post

China reckons US democracy is imploding but could be missing the point South China Morning Post

Boardroom drama shakes China’s biggest chipmaker SMIC FT

Jack Ma makes first public appearance since Ant’s cancelled IPO FT

What China’s Male Beauty Market Will Look Like In 2021 Jing Daily

Taiwan scraps new year festival after rare coronavirus outbreak Agence France Presse

The Koreas

Samsung Heavy banks on ‘crewless’ ships to capsize Chinese rivals Hellenic Shipping News

Capitol Seizure

Historical parallels:

Heroes and villains: How networks of influential individuals helped destroy one of the world’s most durable democracies and legitimise a racist, authoritarian state VoxEU

America’s Ayodhya: Hindutva’s Lessons for the March on the Capitol The American Sun. I’m linking to this because I haven’t seen its argument made. Red flags: No About page for the venue, no bio or indeed detectable trail for the author. I would be interested to know what India hands think of it.

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McConnell Says Mob Attack on Capitol Was ‘Provoked’ by Trump Bloomberg

Voices Of Wards 7 And 8: Frustration, But Not Surprise, After The Capitol Insurrection DCist

Trump Transition

Trump pardons and commutations – the full list Guardian. Missing: Assange and Snowden.

Trump Has Discussed Starting a New Political Party WSJ

HHS finalizes rule that imposes term limits for career federal scientists Fierce Pharma

Trump’s Market Was So-So, Whichever Way You Cut It John Authers, Bloomberg

Where Do Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Go From Here? Town & Country

Biden will recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s leader, top diplomat says Reuters

Biden Inauguration

Washington on edge before Biden inauguration – in pictures Guardian

Biden Transition

‘No choice but to be hopeful’: Biden voters, in their own words, ahead of Inauguration Day NBC

Joe Biden’s challenge: big, early victories in a toxic political climate FT

What Voters Want From Biden’s First Term, in Their Own Words Morning Consult. Handy chart:

A monthly stipend would solve enable social distancing and preserve the economy, but who wants that?

Here are the executive actions Biden is expected to take on Inauguration Day CNN

What’s in President-Elect Biden’s COVID-19 American Rescue Plan? American Law Review

Biden likely to tighten COVID travel restrictions from these countries MarketWatch

Scoop: Joe Biden’s COVID-19 bubble Axios. “The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden.” A President is not a “commodity.” Unless they are, of course.

Monthly Child Tax Credit Would Be a Train Wreck Matt Bruenig, People’s Policy Project

Biden’s Stimulus Plan Will Bring Relief, but There’s One Flaw Editorial Board, NYT. “But there is one lesson that apparently still needs to be learned. Mr. Biden is proposing to repeat a mistake made by the last two administrations by setting an arbitrary end date for economic aid programs rather than tying the benefits to the duration of need.”

The Obama do-over is about to begin Politico


Under Biden, it’s time for Democrats to let go of Medicare for All Independent

Biden Lifts Health Care Plan From Insurance Lobbyists Daily Poster. “If enacted, the plan could head off any talk in Washington of a public option plan down the road.” The West Wing wouldn’t have it any other way….

Comparison of Utilization, Costs, and Quality of Medicaid vs Subsidized Private Health Insurance for Low-Income Adults JAMA. From the Abstract: “Marketplace coverage was associated with fewer emergency department visits and more office visits than Medicaid, total costs were 83% higher in Marketplace coverage owing to much higher prices, and out-of-pocket spending was 10 times higher in Marketplace coverage; results for quality of care were mixed.” From the Discussion: “In terms of clinical quality, we found no difference for the primary outcome of ambulatory care–sensitive hospitalizations. Among secondary outcomes, 5 measures favored Marketplace coverage (though 1 was of minimal clinical relevance, a 1 percentage-point difference in flu vaccination), 1 measure favored Medicaid, and the rest (6 of 12) showed no significant differences.” So subsidized private health insurance is obviously the way to go. Because markets.

Police State Watch

The New Domestic War on Terror is Coming Glenn Greenwald


HOTR: Boeing could further cut 787 production rate—JP Morgan Leeham News

Yellow mealworm safe for humans to eat, says EU food safety agency Guardian (DD). “Crunchy snacks.”

Class Warfare

An Inaugural Inflection Point: Ushering in a New Era of Marketing Amid a Polarized Public Morning Consult. Handy chart:


How to Make a Pencil Logic.io. Well worth a read.

This is not disinformation:

Everything Is Broken The Tablet

The Errand Friend Culture Study. Another type of relationship under assault by Covid and Silicon Valley.

Antidote du jour (via):

See Yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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