Monday , August 2 2021
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Articles by Lambert Strether

Is the Soil an “Ecosystem Service” That Can Be Priced?

13 hours ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? –Matt 7:9-10
Readers familiar with Betteridge’s Law need read no further! For those still reading: Today’s perambulation into the biosphere will be even more of a high-wire act than usual: Normally, I know nothing of the topic before beginning my research. Today, although we have had occasion to write on soil before (see here, here, here, and here) that which I do not know today involves both ecology and economics. I hope readers will be kind and suggest more sources I should look at (particularly around the concept of “ecosystem services,” which I’ve been muttering about for some time).
We linked to this article from Quanta — “A Soil-Science

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Links 8/1/2021

23 hours ago

Most Invasive Marine Species Swim Under the Radar Hakai Magazine
Typos, tricks and misprints Aeon. English spelling.
‘Widening fault lines’ unbalance global recovery Hellenic Shipping News
Planetary ‘vital signs’ show extent of climate stress — and some hope FT
Who Will Pay To Protect Tech Giants From Rising Seas? NPR. Horrid “mobile-friendly” essay, but interesting.
What’s the true cost of shipping all your junk across the ocean? Grist
Amazon hit by record fine, slowing sales FT
#COVID19

FDA, under pressure, plans ‘sprint’ to accelerate review of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for full approval STAT
Vaccine Mandates Are as American as Apple Pie Portside. It would be helpful, at least from the moralizing perspective if the vaccines were not still regulated as “experimental.”
Long term

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Pfizer Court Fight Could Legalize Medicare Copays and Unleash ‘Gold Rush’ in Sales

23 hours ago

By Jay Hancock, Senior Correspondent for Kaiser Health News. Originally published at Kaiser Health News.
Three years ago, pharma giant Pfizer paid $24 million to settle federal allegations that it was paying kickbacks and inflating sales by reimbursing Medicare patients for out-of-pocket medication costs.
By making prohibitively expensive medicine essentially free for patients, the company induced them to use Pfizer drugs even as the price of one of those medicines, covered by Medicare and Medicaid, soared 44% to $225,000 a year, the Justice Department alleged.
Now Pfizer is suing Uncle Sam to legalize essentially the same practice it was accused of three years ago — a fighting response to a federal crackdown that has resulted in a dozen drug companies being accused of similar practices.
A

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/30/2021

3 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I don’t so much have a calendar as a mental ratchet with five teeth. Occasionally, the ratchet slips, and so I thought yesterday was Friday! Fortunately, you straightened me out. Have a good weekend. –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. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching….
Vaccination by region:

South rising.
Case count by United States regions:

And so we barrel toward achieve parity with the second peak, back in July 2020…. Projecting linearly, I’d guess we’d reach the new peak by early next week. NOTE: Looks like I was too conservative! I was too conservative. Now, as far as reaching the

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Links 7/30/2021

3 days ago

Photographer Catches Whale Breaching Next to a Fishing Boat PetaPixel (Furzy Mouse).
Sponge fossils suggest animals already existed 890 million years ago New Scientist
Trans-Alaska pipeline under threat from thawing permafrost High Country News
How to redesign our cities to make them heatwave-proof FT
‘Is this legal?’: Why an obscure data service has been sued nearly 100 times for facilitating anti-competitive behavior Investigate Midwest
Cosmic-ray threat to quantum computing greater than previously thought Physics World
#COVID19

‘The war has changed’: Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe WaPo. Too many emojis for my taste, but this is a useful wrap-up/critique well worth reading in full:

⚠️Holy Mother—the worst CDC #DeltaVariant report

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/29/2021

4 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

A duet (with the other bird far away).
* * *
#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….
Vaccination by region:

South rising.
“In Alabama and Louisiana, partisan opposition to vaccine surges alongside Delta variant” [Politico]. “Local public health officials and physicians in this part of the country are convinced that they are doing everything they can to save lives — pulling 15-hour days to set up pop-up mobile vaccine units, monitor patients on respirators, and administer rounds of therapeutics. But they can only do so much. They will not go to people’s homes to try and twist their arms,

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/28/2021

5 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I’m going to add more material under Politics shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!
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….
Vaccination by region:

South rising.
https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/24/covid-vaccine-push-rural-500717
Case count by United States regions:

And so we barrel toward parity with the second peak, back in July 2020…. Projecting linearly, I’d guess we’d reach the new peak by early next week. NOTE: Looks like I was too conservative! (Note that these numbers are if anything understated, since the CDC does not collect breakthrough infections unless

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Links 7/28/21

5 days ago

Dolphin rescuers take cues from whale stranding to move mother and calf to clear water ABC Australia
Dangerous attraction: Amorous pursuit imperils Cuban crocodile Straits Times
A Soil-Science Revolution Upends Plans to Fight Climate Change Quanta. Extremely important. The concept of pricing “ecosystem services” is moronic. Half the time we don’t even know what the services even are. Ditto carbon markets.
Psst! Paul Glazer Is the True King of SPACs. (And He Would Prefer You Didn’t Know That.) Institutional Investor
Surge pricing violates antitrust law Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic
#COVID19

Guidance for Implementing COVID-19 Prevention Strategies in the Context of Varying Community Transmission Levels and Vaccination Coverage Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC.
Among strategies to

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/27/2021

6 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

“New Study Finds That Crows Are So Intelligent They Understand the Concept of Zero” [My Modern Met]. “To test whether crows could comprehend zero as a numerical value, the researchers showed crows two displays of dots, each display containing between zero and four. The crows were trained to indicate if the two displays showed the same value. While they did this, researchers monitored their brain activity. When the crows saw “zero” dots, their brains fired a new neuron recognizing this new ‘quantity.’ Sometimes the birds made mistakes, identifying two displays as portraying the same quantity. Where zero was concerned, the birds more often confused it for displays with one dot than those with two or more. Co-author Andreas Nieder told

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/21/2021

12 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
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….
Vaccination by region:

Flattened, interestingly. This after only 48.7% of the US population is fully vaccinated. (For those following at along at home, that’s not even a majority). And our public health establishment has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols, good job.
Case count by United States regions:

The non-triumphalist black line of today’s new normal is a definitely above the peak of the first wave, back in early 2020. (Note that these

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/20/2021

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
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….
Vaccination by region:

Flattened, interestingly. This after only 48.6% of the US population is fully vaccinated. And our public health establishment has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols, good job.
Case count by United States regions:

Today, non-triumphalist black line of today’s new normal is a little above the peak of the first wave, back in early 2020. We should know the impact of travel and all the family gatherings by July 4 + 14 call

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Links 7/17/2021

16 days ago

This Math Explains Why Cauliflowers Look Too Oddly Perfect Science Alert
Attention Investors: The President’s Council on Competition Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture. Important.
The lurking threat to solar power’s growth MIT Technology Review
Greenland to halt all oil exploration as it ‘takes climate change seriously’ Euronews
Ford made a premium gas fragrance for EV owners who miss the smell of fossil fuels The Verge (Re Silc).
#COVID19

The first two posts are the basis of the Guardian Ivermectin story in Links yesterday. The third is the FLCCC’s response:
Why Was a Major Study on Ivermectin for COVID-19 Just Retracted? Jack Lawrence, GRFTR
Some problems in the dataset of a large study of Ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19 Nick Brown’s Blog
Joint Statement of the FLCCC Alliance and

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/16/2021

17 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

Another bird species spotted in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from the Portugal. It’s hard to believe there’s a species called the “Thick Knee.” With barking dog.
* * *
#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….
Vaccination by region:

Flattened, interestingly. This after only 48% of the US population is fully vaccinated. And our public health establishment has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols, good job.
Case count by United States regions:

Every day, the non-triumphalist black

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/15/2021

18 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

Another bird species spotted in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from the UK. Talking about jarring!
* * *
#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….
Vaccination by region:

This after only 48% of the US population is fully vaccinated. And our public health establishment has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols, good job.
Case count by United States regions:

Oof. Increased slope. Every day, the non-triumphalist black line goes a little higher. We should know the impact of travel and all

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Links 7/15/2021

18 days ago

Patient readers, Yves apologizes for the lack of original posts. Simultaneous debacles with both her mother’s new hospital bed and a new wheelchair are occupying more of her bandwidth than she would wish. –lambert
Elusive glass octopus spotted in the remote Pacific Ocean Live Science. “Glass octopus” is a metaphor with potential.
Feeding raw dog food to your pet? It may be spreading antibiotic-resistant superbugs The Economic Times
Did A Study Find Your Cat Hated Having You Home During Lockdown? Not Quite. HuffPo
Thousands of firefighters battle big blazes across the West AP. Handy map of “current large incidents“:

Top Australian Coal Mines Are Spewing More Methane Than Rivals Bloomberg
Why Nauru Is Pushing the World Toward Deep-Sea Mining Hakai Magazine
#COVID19

Neutralisation of

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/14/2021

19 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

Another bird species recorded in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from the east side of Mount Fuji.
* * *
#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….
Vaccination by region:

Oof. This after only 48% of the US population is fully vaccinated. And our public health establishment has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols, good job.
“Most unvaccinated people have low incomes” [Axios]. “More than half of unvaccinated Americans live in households that make less than $50,000 annually, according to

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Links 7/14/2021

19 days ago

Happy Bastille Day!
Giant goldfish problem in US lake prompts warning to pet owners BBC
Fintech and the digital transformation of financial services: implications for market structure and public policy (PDF) Bank of International Settlements
On the decline since Panama Papers, Malta punished for dirty money reputation ICIJ
Got an Old Power Plant Lying Around? Crypto Miners Are Buying Them Up Curbed
Okapi Resources lands ‘transformational’ US uranium deal The West Australian
#COVID19

Reprogrammed CRISPR-Cas13b suppresses SARS-CoV-2 replication and circumvents its mutational escape through mismatch tolerance Nature. The Abstract concludes: “[T]he recent dramatic appearance of variants of concern of SARS-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) highlights the need for innovative approaches that

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/13/2021

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, when updating, I somehow mis-pasted the original text for Water Cooler instead of the text with UPDATEs. Sorry for the confusion. –lambert
Bird Song of the Day

Another bird recorded in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from a Missouri wetlands. There’s a lot going on! The dove sounds hoarse.
* * *
#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. I’ve been thinking of new charts to monitor to alert us to the next outbreak, assuming there is one, but for now, the data from the South means I’ll stick to the status quo.
Vaccination by region:

Oof. This after 48% of the US population is fully vaccinated.

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/12/2021

21 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I had to deal with a household emergency just when I sat down at my desk. More soon. –lambert UPDATE All done!
Bird Song of the Day

A Willow Ptarmigan from Erkuta, Yamalo-Nenetskiy Autonomous Region, Russia. Just to keep the organs of state security on their toes, if they have toes, as opposed to (say) snail-like mucilaginous propodia. (Cheeping of hatchings and what sounds like insects (!)).
I’m going to leave this up in case anyone missed it Friday:
“What’s That Bird Song? Merlin Bird ID Can Tell You” [The Cornell Lab (GF)]. “It’s an almost universal feeling: the thrill of hearing a mysterious new bird song. And it’s usually followed up by the question: What was that bird? Today, the question got much easier: the Cornell Lab’s Merlin

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Links 7/10/2021

23 days ago

The Adorable Way That Baby Koalas Are Weighed Laughing Squid (Re Silc).
The intoxicating garden: Michael Pollan on growing psychoactive plants FT
Are Private Equity Firms to Blame For Rising Home Prices? Marker
The Pandemic Opportunity Project Syndicate
What the impending rubber ‘apocalypse’ means for the U.S. economy CNBC (Re Silc).
#COVID19

Coronavirus: Sinovac is world’s most used vaccine, but how good is its Delta protection? South China Morning Post
Thai study finds 2 doses of Sinovac can’t beat Delta variant, AstraZeneca can ThaiPBS (Furzy Mouse). I cannot, however, find the original study.
CDC, FDA contradict Pfizer on COVID-19 vaccine booster CIDRAP
Mix-and-Match COVID Vaccines: The Case Is Growing, but Questions Remain Scientific American
Briefly Noted: For 2021-07-09 Fr Brad

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/9/2021

24 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

Common Cuckoos, from the Jarvis Cocker lyric. And the lovely sounds of a summer afternoon. ‘Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.’ –Henry James
“What’s That Bird Song? Merlin Bird ID Can Tell You” [The Cornell Lab (GF)]. “It’s an almost universal feeling: the thrill of hearing a mysterious new bird song. And it’s usually followed up by the question: What was that bird? Today, the question got much easier: the Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID app can now identify bird sounds. At the time of the initial launch, Merlin can recognize the sounds of 400+ species from the U.S. and Canada, with that number set to expand rapidly in future updates. Automatic song ID has

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Links 7/9/2021

24 days ago

The Story of Songbirds Is a Story of Sugar The Atlantic
The Oncoming Ransomware Storm Stephen Diehl
The Robinhood Conundrum A Wealth of Common Sense
Brad Udall: Second-worst Powell inflows in more than half a century jfleck at inkstain (dk). Current and future state of the Colorado River.
The U.S. Gas Industry Is Headed for Hard Times The New Republic
#COVID19

Viral infection and transmission in a large well-traced outbreak caused by the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant (preprint) Virological. From the Summary: “We report the first local transmission of the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant in mainland China. All 167 infections could be traced back to the first index case…. A potential higher viral replication rate of the Delta variant is proposed, which leads the viral loads in Delta infections to be

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/7/2021

26 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, sorry to be a bit late; I got caught up in the Nikole Hannah-Jones saga. –lambert UPDATE All done!
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. I’ve been thinking of new charts to monitor to alert us to the next outbreak, assuming there is one, but for now, the data from the South means I’ll stick to the status quo.
Vaccination by region:

“White House keeps Covid messaging simple” [Politico]. Biden: “If you’re vaccinated, you’re protected. But if you’re unvaccinated, you’re not.” • If only that were true!
Case count by United States regions:

We should know the impact of

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Links 7/7/2021

26 days ago

Microbes that feast on crushed rocks thrive in Antarctica’s ice-covered lakes Live Science
Methamphetamine in waterways may be turning trout into addicts CNN
A Banking App Has Been Suddenly Closing Accounts, Sometimes Not Returning Customers’ Money Pro Publica
Who Killed the Recovery Trade? Take Your Pick John Authers, Bloomberg
Some locals say a bitcoin mining operation is ruining one of the Finger Lakes. Here’s how. NBC
#COVID19

COVID-19 vaccines dampen genomic diversity of SARS-CoV-2: Unvaccinated patients exhibit more antigenic mutational variance (preprint)) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “[W]e conducted longitudinal analysis over 1.8 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 183 countries or territories to capture vaccination-associated viral evolutionary patterns. To augment this macroscale

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/6/2021

27 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, as so often happens over the weekend, I accumulated to much material to sort. More shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!
Bird Song of the Day

“DNR: Hundreds of Birds Affected by Mysterious Illness, Cicadas Not Cause of Illness” [Indiana Environmental Reporter (TH)]. “Indiana’s state ornithologist said hundreds of songbirds across the state have been found sick or dead with a mysterious illness. Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources is working alongside scientists and officials from federal and state agencies to identify the source of the illness causing neurological problems and eye discharge and swelling in several species of songbirds…. DNR has recommended Hoosiers take down their bird baths and birdfeeders, including hummingbird

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Links 7/6/2021

27 days ago

All Coral Cells Grown in a Dish for the First Time Scientific American
Mind-controlling parasite makes hyena cubs more reckless around lions National Geographic
Americans Eagerly Check To See If They Got Any Emails Today The Onion
Alcohol unleashes homo economicus by inhibiting cooperation PLOS One
Boy Scouts of America reaches $850M agreement with victims AP. Well, at least they’re no lizard people. So there’s that.
#COVID19

Science, not speculation, is essential to determine how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans The Lancet
Assessing the Association Between Social Gatherings and COVID-19 Risk Using Birthdays JAMA. Findings: “This cross-sectional study used administrative health care data on 2.9 million households from the first 45 weeks of 2020 and found that, among households in the top decile

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Links 7/3/2021

July 3, 2021

Top Economics Blogs Lars P. Syll
* * *
‘Humans caught the ocean on fire’: Gas pipeline fire in Gulf of Mexico creates shocking scene USA Today. The fire caught fire!
Let’s all please stop calling dollars ‘fiat money’ FT
GM to Source Lithium for EV Batteries from US-Based Startup Industry Week
A Major EV Battery Bet for India Is on Aluminum Over Lithium Bloomberg
How to solve COVID’s crew change crisis and protect global supply chains Hellenic Shipping News
A New Kind of Ransomware Tsunami Hits Hundreds of Companies Wired
Smart technology is not making us dumber: study Phys.org
#COVID19

Physical phenotype of blood cells is altered in COVID-19 (in press) Biophysical Journal, n = 55. From the Abstract: “While the pathology is not yet fully understood, hyper-inflammatory response and

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2:00PM Water Cooler 7/2/2021

July 2, 2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day

What a chorus!
* * *
#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. I’ve been thinking of new charts to monitor to alert us to the next outbreak, assuming there is one, but for now, the data from the South means I’ll stick to the status quo.
Vaccination by region:

Now all rising together. Kamala did the trick? Hard to believe.
UPDATE “‘A tough slog’: White House struggles to increase vaccination rates as Delta variant surges” [Politico]. This ran last week, but I want to re-up it. “Top Biden administration health officials trying to slow the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant have largely given

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Links 7/2/2021

July 2, 2021

Yves apologizes for the dearth of original posts. Rehab, her mother in the hospital, and Naked Capitalism add up to 36 hours a day with 24 available, and something had to give. –lambert
Single bee is making an immortal clone army thanks to a genetic fluke Live Science
City of Bees Plough
No One Imagined Giant Lizard Nests Would Be This Weird The Atlantic
Farmland Investing: Impact Beyond Returns Worth
COVID Delta variant worries bubble to the surface in some asset prices Reuters
How Last Century’s Oil Wells Are Messing With Texas Right Now Bloomberg
Fire clouds spark 710,117 lightning strikes in western Canada in 15 hours San Francisco Chronicle. Handy diagram:

Wildfires can generate self-amplifying weather.
If enough heat and smoke rise rapidly into the atmosphere, they form massive,

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We’re Havin’ a Heat Wave (along with Our Cats)

July 1, 2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
I know that the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest and Canada is serious, but this will be an extremely silly post about cats, mostly made from tweets. (Actually, the cats won’t think it’s silly, nor will their staff. But nevertheless.) At the end, I’ll get more serious. But here we go–
Thinking ahead:

Cat getting high on catnip before the heat cranks up in #Seattle today. pic.twitter.com/8YmVJP9xTr
— debookie (@debookie) June 28, 2021

Catsicles:

I did a thing. Made a cat popsicle to beat this heat! I froze some leftover chicken stock in an ice cube tray and… voila! pic.twitter.com/gjH9a4R6IK
— BERTA (@_breitBERT) June 29, 2021

Cat under a cold wet towel:

Gus sporting his cooling cape. What is a cooling cape? Well it’s a frozen wet kitchen towel.

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