Sunday , January 17 2021
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Articles by Lambert Strether

2:00PM Water Cooler 1/14/2021

3 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, more shortly. Essay later. –lambert UPDATE All done. No essay; but see Ritholtz (“What is Wrong with These People”) and the Financial Times (“America’s political crisis”), with my comments following.
Bird Song of the Day

A bit of a duet.
#COVID19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?
Vaccination by region:

The South is the national champion for vaccination, so far, although the Midwest and now the Northeast are gaining.

Case count by United States region:

Big states (New York,

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 1/13/2021

4 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, again the extraordinary volume of material and my (thanks, Tim [snarls]) Apple-driven workflow woes have me behind the eight-ball. I will sort through more material and write a continuation of yesterday’s essay, hopefully by 3:00PM. –lambert UPDATE All done. The essay is more of a rant. Actually.
Bird Song of the Day

#COVID19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks.
Vaccination by region:

The South is the national champion for vaccination, so far, although the Midwest is now coming up on the outside.
Here are the states of the

Read More »

Links 1/13/2021

4 days ago

Cat Cafe Gets Funding To Help With Pandemic Surge In Demand For Cats Bklyner. Go long cats.
How does international capital flow? Bank Underground. In the wake of the gunboats?
Trade sentiment and the stock market: new evidence based on big data textual analysis of Chinese media Bank of International Settlements
The Courage to Learn: A Retrospective on Antitrust and Competition Policy During the Obama Administration and Framework for a New Structuralist Approach (PDF) American Economic Liberties Project. Stoller’s thing.
Theranos destroyed crucial subpoenaed SQL blood test database, can’t unlock backups, prosecutors say The Register
Capitol Hill Seizure

DOJ probing sedition in connection with Capitol riot Politico
How the Capitol riot revived calls to reform Section 230 Politico
Nearly 2

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/07/2021

10 days ago

Great news! Apple is going give me back, er, access to my iPad in two weeks! On Inauguration Day, as it happens. Fortunately, although I cannot install the apps I need, including email, I can access Twitter through the browser on the iPad, and DM myself links to my own Twitter account, which I can then read on my laptop. Kludgey and slower than email, but workable. And now you see why Apple would really prefer to do everything with apps, and is slowly but surely strangling everything else. –lambert UPDATE A few updates. Please refresh your browsers.
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

I think “coup” is the wrong word, but this is nevertheless a lovely thread:

So it turns out that amidst an ongoing coup attempt is a great time to go birding.
Though the pair of bald

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Links 1/7/2021

10 days ago

Earth is whipping around quicker than it has in a half-century Live Science
Liquid glass discovered as new state of matter New Atlas
#COVID19

Eureka! Two Vaccines Work — But What About the Also-Rans in the Pharma Arms Race? KHN
Los Angeles hospitals take drastic steps to grapple with Covid-19 crisis FT
What’s Behind the Ivermectin-for-COVID Buzz? MedPage Today
Vaccine distribution’s information mess Axios
China?

Chinese Communist Party introduces new rules on what members can say as it ‘boosts internal democracy’ South China Morning Post
Covid: WHO team investigating virus origins denied entry to China BBC
A Different Story about the Origin and Development of Alternative Protein in China The Pig Site
Japan declares state of emergency for Tokyo area as COVID-19 cases surge Reuters
The

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/06/2021

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
My old iPad with the cracked screen finally failed today. I had kept on using it, and not the new one I bought after the first crack appeared, because I never updated the credit credit card number on it, and after a bank takeover, that card is no longer valid, I don’t remember the CSV, and Apple wouldn’t allow me to update to a new credit card without having the old one. So I put the new one away and kept using the old one, cracked screen and all. So today out of necessity I broke out the new one, and Apple is going to take 24 hours to authenticate me, even though I authenticated myself to them through phone and email. Who owns this machine, anyhow? Wait, don’t answer that. –lambert NOTE The iPad is very useful to me in photography, and it allows me to

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/05/2021

12 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
More shortly. I got wrapped round the axle with the new Covid charts. –lambert UPDATE All done. Please see the material on Google under “Class Warfare”; it’s important.
Bird Song of the Day

The note is great: “Kree-urk and chip calls from a covey near the trail.”
#COVID19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?
I finally cajoled the 91-DIVOC UC into giving me hospitalization, positivity, fatalities, and above all vaccination, besides caes count nationally and in the Big States. I’ll mess around with

Read More »

Google Rigged Its Own Advertising Auction In Favor of Facebook for a Price (and What That Means for the So-Called Free Market)

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Two days before New Year’s, The Wall Street Journal released the following story, “Inside the Google-Facebook Ad Deal at the
Heart of a Price-Fixing Lawsuit,” which I think should have been a blockbuster, but wasn’t, possibly because of the holidays, possiblly because everybody already thinks they’re both crooks. In this brief post, I’ll first extract the key points of the case, and then consider what Google’s actions imply for the idea that we live in a “free market” society.
Before we look at the story, we need to understand a little about how Google ads are sold to buyers. (Naturally, I searched on Google for this, and was greeted with six pages of material from Google itself, interspersed with marketing from SEO firms. Not one academic[1] or

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/04/2021

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Welcome to 2021. Since Assange isn’t being rendered to the United States, perhaps we are beginning on a positive note? (Modulo press freedom issues in the judgement.)
Bird Song of the Day

#COVID19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?
Case count by United States region:

Reporting is back to normal.

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California) instead of the Midwest:

Reporting is back to normal here, too.
The test positivity, hospitalization, and case fatality graphs have moved or disappeared

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Disruption of Seaborne Trade in South East Asia: A Quantitative Analysis

13 days ago

By Kerem Cosar, Professor of Economics, University of Virginia and Benjamin Thomas, Consultant, Washington DC. Originally published at VoxEU.
Open oceans are vital for the transport of a large share of world trade. But they are also frequently at the centre of geopolitical tensions between nation states. This column estimates the economic costs of impeded shipping access in South East Asia. The results of the study suggest that restrictions to shipping due to military sanctions could have large negative effects on economic welfare for countries all over the world, including oil exporters such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Among other economic and environmental benefits, oceans are vital for the transport of an overwhelming share of world trade. The long-held principle of

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Links 1/4/2021

13 days ago

A Harvard professor says an alien visited in 2017 — and more are coming NY Post. ‘Oumuamua, checking the quarantine.
Japan developing wooden satellites to cut space junk BBC. Brilliant!
Stress test looms for financial system in 2021 FT
‘Peak hype’: why the driverless car revolution has stalled Guardian (Re Silc). NC, 2016. Re Silc comments: “On to peak electric vehicles before the batteries, as we know them, kill it.” Helpful suggestion on batteries:

Maybe we could innnovate with amusement park bumper car technology?
Analysts expect as much as $500bn of green bonds in bumper 2021 FT
The 1996 Law That Ruined the Internet Steve Waldman, The Atlantic. Section 203.
2020 Post-Game Analysis

20 striking findings from 2020 Pew Research Center
52 things I learned in 2020 Flux[x], Medium
#COVID19

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The Clams of Poland’s Municipal Water Plants (and Other Biosensors)

14 days ago

Lambert here: Patient readers (and moderators) I’m leaving the comments on for this one, because my biosphere posts often get comments from teachers, and people who are far more knowledgeable than I am. Please stay on point. –lambert
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
In my perambulations through the biosphere, I haven’t written about animals before, so I guess writing about whole-critter biosensors is a good way to open the New Year. This article, from Bored Panda seven months ago, surfaced again on my Twitter feed: “Someone Explains How Poland Uses Clams To Control Its Water Supply And It’s Pretty Crazy“:

[C]lams are placed in a specially designed flow tank. They are connected to the system controller that sends data to a computer which records the degree that the clams’ shells are open

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Links 1/3/2021

14 days ago

My 2021 Forecasts / Year in Preview The Big Picture
Paygone Ryan Grim, Bad News
The Supply Chain Gang The Baffler. From November, still germane.
#COVID19

The Plague Year The New Yorker. A retrospective, very much in the New Yorker style, well worth reading in full. In the author’s view, there were three chances to contain the infection: when the CDC could not get into China in early January, the CDC’s “testing fiasco,” and masking. Trump does not come off well in the third and in subsequent events, rightly. (One might also ask, as the article does not, what happened to the “principle of association” that De Tocqueville wrote made America exceptional; it doesn’t seem to scale.) This paragraph caught my eye:
When Bellevue’s doctors were at their lowest ebb, reinforcements arrived: hospital

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The Top 10 Weather and Climate Events of a Record-Setting Year

14 days ago

By Jeff Masters, PhD, and Dana Nuccitelli, Yale Climate Connections. Originally published at Yale Climate Connections.
Calendar year 2020 was an extreme and abnormal year, in so many ways. The global coronavirus pandemic altered people’s lives around the world, as did extreme weather and climate events. Let’s review the year’s top 10 such events.
[embedded content]
1. Hottest Year on Record?
The official rankings will not be released until January 14, but according to NASA, Earth’s average surface temperature in 2020 is likely to tie with 2016 for the hottest year on record, making the last seven years the seven hottest on record.
Remarkably, the record warmth of 2020 occurred during a minimum in the solar cycle and in a year in which a moderate La Niña event formed. Surface cooling of the

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Links 1/1/2021

16 days ago

Happy New Year!
This dog-size lizard is spreading through the southeastern U.S. National Geographic
News Feature: To understand the plight of insects, entomologists look to the past PNAS
Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA World Economic Forum
The tiny forests designed by feng shui BBC (DL).
Without Clearing Any New Farmland, We Could Feed Two Earths’ Worth of People Bloomberg
Commentary: The rising tide of alternative meat is here and we are the better for it Channel News Asia
SPACtacular: Blank-check firms hit the jackpot in 2020 Reuters
U.S. Homebuyers Face Worst Affordability Squeeze in 12 Years Bloomberg
US to tax fuselage, wings, tail imported for Airbus’ Mobile A320 assembly line Leeham News and Analysis
#COVID19

The Mutated Virus Is a Ticking Time Bomb

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2:00PM Water Cooler 12/31/2020

17 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I’m being extremely lazy in the run-up to New Year’s. See you next week! –lambert.
Bird Song of the Day

#COVID19
Not exactly holiday material, but it has to be done. Drops across the board, which I assume is entirely a holiday-driven reporting issue.
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
Case count by United States region:

An enormous holiday drop, far larger than Thanksgiving. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California) instead of the Midwest:

Enormous drops, except in New

Read More »

Links 12/31/2020

17 days ago

Rare Bald Eagle Perches Regally In Central Park: See It Upper West Side, NY Patch (nvl).
Employment recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic Monthly Labor Review. Worth reading in full. Handy chart:

Looks V-shaped, though I bet disaggregation would show a K. All other things being equal, it looks like we’re topping out at a level equal to the depths of Obama’s recesssion in 2009, as shown by the famous “scariest jobs chart ever.”
Corporate America experiences ‘K-shaped’ recovery FT
In a year of pain, one silver lining: fewer mass shootings AP. Most American headline ever.
The SEC’s “token” enforcement action against Ripple for XRP Francine McKenna, The Dig
Pope formally strips Vatican secretariat of state of assets ABC
#COVID19

Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine

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2:00PM Water Cooler 12/30/2020

18 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I’m going to be keeping Water Coolers shorter than usual through the New Year. In order to make the year turn toward the light more rapidly, I will make the proportion of frivolous material greater than usual. –lambert.
Bird Song of the Day

#COVID19
Not exactly holiday material, but it has to be done. Drops across the board, which I assume is entirely a holiday-driven reporting issue.
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
Case count by United States region:

An enormous holiday drop, far larger than Thanksgiving. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 12/29/2020

19 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I’m going to be keeping Water Coolers shorter than usual through the New Year. In order to make the year turn toward the light more rapidly, I will make the proportion of frivolous material greater than usual. –lambert.
Bird Song of the Day

Here is was a warbler (?) from the American West (poor birds).
#COVID19
Not exactly holiday material, but it has to be done. Drops across the board, which I assume is entirely a holiday-driven reporting issue.
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
Case count by United States region:

An enormous holiday drop, far larger than Thanksgiving. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 12/28/2020

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I’m going to be keeping Water Coolers shorter than usual through the New Year. In order to make the year turn toward the light more rapidly, I will make the proportion of frivolous material greater than usual. –lambert.
Bird Song of the Day

I thought this was a warbler from the American West (poor birds) but I was wrong. I will try again tomorrow.
#COVID19
Not exactly holiday material, but it has to be done. Drops across the board, which I assume is entirely a holiday-driven reporting issue.
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
Case count by United States region:

An enormous holiday drop, far larger than Thanksgiving. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler Christmas Eve 2020

24 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, I’m going to skip the Bird Song in favor of another sort of song:
[embedded content]
I know it’s ridiculous — the Anglican Church, traditional architecture, “processing” as a verb, “all in white shall be around us,” and anyhow this holiday is really the solstice or Saturnalia — but the beauty of “Once in Royal David’s City” always makes my eyes sting, with tears. I search for it, well, religiously on the NPR (sigh) radio schedule and have for years. Perhaps the reality of having been lovingly cared for as a child speaks to all of us; or the yearning to have been; or the yearning not to be or have been, but to do. And then there’s verse two:
He came down to earth from heavenwho is God and Lord of all,and his shelter was a stable,and his cradle was a

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Links 12/24/2020

24 days ago

Udderly brilliant! Cows are fitted with woolly BRAS in the world’s coldest village as temperatures drop to -45C in Siberia Daily Mail
Octopus punches fish in the head (just because it can) Live Science
Global Policy Responses to Capital Flow Volatility IMF Blog
Asia’s capital markets to focus on vaccine in 2021, say bankers Reuters
Shipping IPO prospects slim as capital-market access plunges Freight Waves
Rotating Sails Help to Revive Wind-Powered Shipping Scientific American
Google told its scientists to ‘strike a positive tone’ in AI research – documents Reuters
#COVID19

A Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibody for Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 (PDF) NEJM. I don’t imagine that NEJM reads NC, but in any case, this is an improvement over the BNT162b2 debacle. “Protocol” on first mention:

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New Hope for Coral Restoration with “Electric Reefs”?

28 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Last year, we looked at coral and coral restoration where “coral gardeners” painstakingly reattached live coral bits to existing, damaged reefs. (Corals are honorary plants, for anyone who wants to send me pictures.) At that time, I questioned whether it was possible to “mobilize” coral gardeners for reef restoration, and whether it was or will be possible, it hasn’t happened. In this post (inspired by a reweeted thread by Sarah Taber from Interfluidity’s steve randy waldman), I want to look at a process for coral restoration that makes gardening more efficient: electric reefs[1] (a.k.a. Biorock® — the “®” is important — or mineral accretion technology). First, I’ll describe the process, then I’ll look at its utopian origins and hopes, and the financial

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Links 12/20/2020

28 days ago

Alien Hunters Discover Mysterious Signal from Proxima Centauri Scientific American
Forests in Brazil emitting more carbon than they absorb due to climate change: Study ABC
Australian ‘super seaweed’ supplement to reduce cattle gas emissions wins $1m international prize The Hill
#COVID19

‘I failed’: Operation Warp Speed leader takes responsibility for Covid-19 vaccine distribution confusion STATS. Political class: “What is this responsibility of which you speak?”
A side-by-side comparison of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines STAT
FDA investigating five allergic reactions after Pfizer shot in U.S. Reuters
African-American Resistance to the COVID-19 Vaccine Reflects a Broader Problem Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker
Health Canada announces that dudes who wear shorts all winter will get

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Wolf Richter: Who Holds the $1.65 Trillion of Apartment Building Debt amid Eviction Bans and Plunging Occupancy Rates at High Rises?

28 days ago

By Wolf Richter, editor of Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street.
You guessed it: For over half of it, taxpayers are on the hook. Time to take a look.
The mortgage for “2 Cooper Square,” a 15-story luxury apartment tower with 143 units in the NoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, is now over 30 days delinquent, according to the Commercial Observer. In 2010, when the building opened, three-bedroom apartments sported asking rents “as high as $20,000 per month,” gushed the Wall Street Journal at the time. In 2012, the developer, Atlantic Development Group, sold the long-term leasehold in the building to Wafra Capital Partners in Kuwait for $134 million. In 2019, Wafra unloaded the leasehold to David Werner Real Estate and Emerald Equity for about $85 million – a loss of nearly $50

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Links 12/19/2020

29 days ago

Kangaroos can learn to communicate with humans, researchers say Reuters
Deadly ‘brain-eating amoeba’ has expanded its range northward Live Science
Coinbase picks Goldman Sachs to lead listing plans -source Channel News Asia
Federal Reserve frees up US banks to resume share buybacks FT
World Bank Staff Manipulated Global Business Rankings—Boosting Saudi Arabia, China—Internal Audit Finds Forbes (Re Silc).
#COVID19

FDA grants authorization to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, the second in the U.S. STAT
The lightning-fast quest for COVID vaccines — and what it means for other diseases Nature
The Underground Market For Vaccines NPR
The Impact of COVID-19 on Geographic and Industry Mobility (PDF) Moody’s Analytics
The Army Spent Almost a Year Making Face Masks. That Doesn’t Bode Well. Popular

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2:00PM Water Cooler 12/18/2020

December 18, 2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, sorry to be a bit late. Every so often by VPN causes my browser to believe I’m in Norway, at which point search results and my mailer UI appear in Norwegian, and I have to spend a few minutes persuading my browser otherwise. More politics shortly. –lambert
Bird Song of the Day

#COVID19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.
Case count by United States region:

Resuming the upward climb, though at a lesser slope. Looks like the Midwest did it, from the regional data. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

Big states (New

Read More »

Links 12/18/2020

December 18, 2020

Prague zoo’s month-old Sumatran orangutan finally has a name AP (Vlade). Must read, at least as far as paragraph five.
He Was a Stick, She Was a Leaf; Together They Made History NYT. “The augmentation of the complexity and intensity of the field of intelligent life.” –Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness.
Stablecoins: risks, potential and regulation (PDF) Bank of International Settlements
Repealing Section 230 as antitrust Interfluidity
#COVID19
Will the U.S. Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Vaccine Victory? Zeynep Tukecki, Insight
Second COVID vaccine recommended for emergency use in US, FDA says. What to know McClatchy
Pfizer says ‘millions’ of vaccine doses are waiting to be shipped — but the government hasn’t told them where to go The Week
Sweden’s king says country’s coronavirus

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Clouds, Cloud Formation, Climate, and the Precautionary Principle

December 13, 2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?Polonius: By th’ mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.Hamlet: Or like a whale.Polonius: Very like a whale. –William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 2
“Clouds were there for everyone—no tax as yet on them—free” –Alfred Stieglitz
I thought, in my perambulations through the biosphere, I’d move on from earth and water to the atmosphere, though why I settled on clouds, I don’t know (possibly this). Or perhaps I had aerosols on my mind. Typically, I begin with images showing the beauty of the subject, which in this case is not hard. From Alfred Stiglitz’s series, Equivalents, this:

Or this:

Stiglitz was not the first to point

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Links 12/13/2020

December 13, 2020

How a New Hampshire libertarian utopia was foiled by bears Vox. “It turns out that if you have a bunch of people living in the woods in nontraditional living situations, each of which is managing food in their own way and their waste streams in their own way, then you’re essentially teaching the bears in the region that every human habitation is like a puzzle that has to be solved in order to unlock its caloric payload.”
The US government wants to break up Facebook. Good – it’s long overdue Matt Stoller and Shaoul Sussman, Guardian
‘It’s Hard to Prove’: Why Antitrust Suits Against Facebook Face Hurdles NYT
The US Treasury market is facing a train wreck FT
Breakingviews – AstraZeneca’s $39 billion deal is bold as well as big Reuters
Christopher Nolan Calls Warner Bros.’ Shift To Streaming

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