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Links 1/27/2021

Lobster shell patterns make concrete stronger: Australian researcher Reuters US stock rally drives ‘ludicrous index’ towards dotcom era heights FT Microsoft smashes Wall Street’s expectations with bn sales bonanza The Register Michael Burry Calls GameStop Rally ‘Unnatural, Insane’ Bloomberg. I don’t play the ponies, so all I can say is that this thread seems plausible: Officially, they're manipulating $GME (and $BB and $KOSS) because these low-value stocks are being very heavily shorted, and if something moves the value of the stock up (like, tens of thousands of retail investors acting in near unison), those short-sellers may be forced to sell — Toxic (@toxic) January 26, 2021 Stoller comments: One of the guys who profited from the GameStop Squeeze also bet big on the collapse of

Lambert Strether considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Lambert Strether writes Links 2/28/2021

Barry Ritholtz writes 10 Sunday Reads

Yves Smith writes Links 2/27/2021

Barry Ritholtz writes 10 Weekend Reads

Lobster shell patterns make concrete stronger: Australian researcher Reuters

US stock rally drives ‘ludicrous index’ towards dotcom era heights FT

Microsoft smashes Wall Street’s expectations with $43bn sales bonanza The Register

Michael Burry Calls GameStop Rally ‘Unnatural, Insane’ Bloomberg. I don’t play the ponies, so all I can say is that this thread seems plausible:

Stoller comments:

UPDATE One more thread, this one a bit more triumphalist:


UK variant, UCSD researcher warns, looks like a COVID-19 time bomb San Diego Union Tribune

Host-directed therapies against early-lineage SARS-CoV-2 retain efficacy against B.1.1.7 variant (preprint) bioRxiv. From the Abstract: “Here, in the first study of the full-length B.1.1.7 variant virus, we find two host-directed drugs, plitidepsin (Aplidin; inhibits translation elongation factor eEF1A) and ralimetinib (inhibits p38 MAP kinase cascade), as well as remdesivir, to possess similar antiviral activity against both the early-lineage SARS-CoV-2 and the B.1.1.7 variant, evaluated in both human gastrointestinal and lung epithelial cell lines. We find that plitidepsin is over an order of magnitude more potent than remdesivir against both viruses. These results highlight the importance of continued development of host-directed therapeutics to combat current and future coronavirus variant outbreaks.” See here on “host-directed therapeutics” (HDTs): “Novel strategies for HDTs are currently being pursued that either block host cell factors or pathways essential for pathogen survival, or activate and reinstall pathogen-antagonizing mechanisms, thus rendering the host cell non-permissive.”

* * *

Covid and me: 10 days on life support (no paywall) FT. Not just the flu.

Plitidepsin has potent preclinical efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the host protein eEF1A Science. From the Abstract: “Here we report that the drug plitidepsin (Aplidin), which has limited clinical approval, possesses antiviral activity (IC90 = 0.88 nM) 27.5-fold more potent than remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, with limited toxicity in cell culture. Through the use of a drug resistant mutant, we show that the antiviral activity of plitidepsin against SARS-CoV-2 is mediated through inhibition of the known target eEF1A. We demonstrate the in vivo efficacy of plitidepsin treatment in two mouse models of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a reduction of viral replication in the lungs by two orders of magnitude using prophylactic treatment.”

Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine JAMA. “During December 14 to 23, 2020, after administration of a reported 1 893 360 first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (1 177 527 in women, 648 327 in men, and 67 506 with sex of recipient not reported), CDC identified 21 case reports submitted to VAERS that met Brighton Collaboration case definition criteria for anaphylaxis (Table), corresponding to an estimated rate of 11.1 cases per million doses administered. ”

Scientists unravel mystery of sex disparities in COVID-19 outcomes (press release) Yale News (original).

[W]hy are men are 1.7 times more likely to die from the virus than women? One of the first explanations, researchers say, comes from basic biology. Women have two X chromosomes, men have one. X chromosomes are important because they are rich in genes that regulate immune response. While one of those X chromosomes in women is silenced, in some cases key genes from both X chromosomes can activate the innate immune system, the early alarm system that detects pathogens. Essentially, women have immune system reinforcements they can call upon early in infections that men, with their single X chromosomes, don’t possess.

But let’s not go all monocausal…

* * *

Biden Team to Buy 200 Million More Doses, Speed Up Vaccinations Bloomberg

Exclusive: Scarce niche syringes complicate U.S. plan to squeeze more COVID shots from Pfizer vials Reuters

I hate this framing:

Vaccines work on the collective level, not the individual level. So not only does Harris get [genuflects] the science wrong, she obscures the moral case. Vaccines are about public health. They are not like popping a pill to deal with your individual ailment!

* * *

States Ignore New Data Showing How To Halt COVID Spread Walter Bragman and David Sirota, The Daily Poster

Data and Policy to Guide Opening Schools Safely to Limit the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Infection JAMA. “Decisions made today can help ensure safe operation of schools and provide critical services to children and adolescents in the US. Some of these decisions may be difficult. They include a commitment to implement community-based policies that reduce transmission when SARS-CoV-2 incidence is high (eg, by restricting indoor dining at restaurants), and school-based policies to postpone school-related activities that can increase risk of in-school transmission (eg, indoor sports practice or competition). ”

Watch: Covid tests are complicated. A guide to understanding types and trade-offs STAT

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The State Department is warning Americans that help will be limited if they go abroad for nonessential reasons. NYT

Health Care Workers and COVID-19: America Hasn’t Passed the Worst of the Pandemic Morning Consuit


Another Xi blunder: China desperate for Aussie wheat Macrobusiness

China’s Pigs Become Unexpected Threat to Palm Oil’s Rally Bloomberg

China-Europe freight train hub Chongqing sees surging trips in 2020 Xinhua

A Show About Poverty Alleviation Is Getting Historically High Reviews Sixth Tone

The world is dangerously dependent on Taiwan for semiconductors South China Morning Post


With flags on India’s Red Fort, farmers challenge Modi and protest movement unity France24

Fact-Check: Flags Hoisted at Red Fort Neither Replaced Tricolour, Nor Promoted Khalistan The Wire

Internet services suspended in parts of Delhi [Read MHA Order] Bar and Bench

The many-splendoured sewa network at Singhu People’s Archive of Rural India. “Sewa is available in many-hued and very generous forms – all as offerings of solidarity with the protests.” Impressive.


Israel sees 60% drop in hospitalizations for age 60-plus 3 weeks after 1st shot Times of Israel

An Unfinished Epoch of Revolution Spectre Journal. The Arab Spring, ten years on.

Opinion: Egypt is synonymous with hopelessness Deutsche Welle

The Arab Spring and Abolition of the Police Rampant

The Koreas

From BTS to Blackpink, K-pop dance practice videos are all the rage with fans: it’s ‘a way to get closer’ to their idols South China Morning Post. Parasocial relations.


British Economy, Post-Brexit and Pummeled by Covid, Is Worst in G-7 WSJ

Mastercard to increase fees for UK purchases from EU FT. Sunlit uplands? Priceless.

What’s at stake in the EU, AstraZeneca vaccine supply dispute ABC

Covid: Dutch curfew riots rage for third night BBC. This schtick has aged well:

Nord Stream 2 Pipelay Operations Resume Maritime Executive


Most Senate Republicans declare Trump’s trial unconstitutional. Here’s what that means for conviction. NBC

The Impeachment and Trial of a Former President (PDF) Congressional Research Service

Waiting For Our Salazar The American Conservative. So a “smart Trump” would be a Philosopher King?

Biden Transition

Competence is Joe Biden’s best strategy Martin Wolf, FT

Here’s the full list of Biden’s executive actions so far NBC

That’s quite an act. What do you call it?

The Democrats! There’s always a tweet:

Why Mitch McConnell relented on his demands about preserving the filibuster Vox

The far right’s favorite registrar is building ‘censorship-resistant’ servers Tech Crunch

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Reflecting the Authoritarian Climate, Washington Will Remain Militarized Until At Least March Glenn Greenwald

Destructive protests by anarchists and extremists signal divided left as Biden administration begins WaPo. “… the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonprofit policy research group…”

Our Famously Free Press

Meet the Censored: Status Coup Matt Taibbi, TK News

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Leon Black Did Nothing Wrong, Will Stop Being Apollo CEO Anyway Dealbreaker. The deck: “He did do twice as much not wrong as previously reported…” See Yves on Black and his dealings. Meanwhile, “tax advice” lol:

Leon Black and the American Tradition of Impunity Jacob Bachrach, The New Republic


Boeing 737 MAX – Still Not Fixed (PDF) Ed Pierson. “So why did two brand-new airplanes (2 months and 4 months old) have flight control system problems in the weeks leading up to the crashes? Why did both airplanes have unexplainable electrical system faults? Why has there been a rash of production quality problems recently surfacing on new 737 MAX airplanes? Why did 13 other new MAX airplanes have safety related incidents within their first year of service? All signs point back to where these airplanes were produced, the 737 Factory.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Rise and Fall and Rise (and Fall) of the U.S. Financial Empire Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

Delusions of Dominance Foreign Affairs

Guillotine Watch

World’s Richest Men, Musk and Bezos, Fight Over Satellite Fleets Bloomberg. Who will be first to ruin the night sky?

Class Warfare

Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You Pro Publica. Chickenization. From October 2020, more germane than ever.

Hard Times Andrew Cockburn, Hard Times

Cooperative Conversions & Employee Buyouts Grassroots Economic Organizing

Flint ‘Really Comes Down to People Not Being Listened To’ FAIR

Toxic Chemicals Threaten Humanity’s Ability to Reproduce The Intercept

Antidote du jour (via):

Links 1/27/2021

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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