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Links 2/19/2021

Summary:
Why Do We Even Have Dogs? Slate This Little Mesh Bag Helps Me Bathe My Cats With Ease Daily Beast (Furzy Mouse). NASA’s astrobiology rover Perseverance makes historic Mars landing Reuters (Re Silc). The landing. Two hours: [embedded content] Personally, I don’t think the human species deserves to get off-planet, and I hope the aliens intervene if we try, but I think Perserverance is a neat, heartening project anyhow. Earth’s magnetic field broke down 42,000 years ago and caused massive sudden climate change The Conversation (original). So long, Neanderthals! Money Conquers Fear Is the Lesson of Covid Markets Bloomberg. Cf 1 John 4:18. Column: Central bank ‘punch bowl’ still brimming for markets Reuters The Most Powerful Artificial Intelligence Knows Nothing About Investing. That’s

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Why Do We Even Have Dogs? Slate

This Little Mesh Bag Helps Me Bathe My Cats With Ease Daily Beast (Furzy Mouse).

NASA’s astrobiology rover Perseverance makes historic Mars landing Reuters (Re Silc). The landing. Two hours:

Personally, I don’t think the human species deserves to get off-planet, and I hope the aliens intervene if we try, but I think Perserverance is a neat, heartening project anyhow.

Earth’s magnetic field broke down 42,000 years ago and caused massive sudden climate change The Conversation (original). So long, Neanderthals!

Money Conquers Fear Is the Lesson of Covid Markets Bloomberg. Cf 1 John 4:18.

Column: Central bank ‘punch bowl’ still brimming for markets Reuters

The Most Powerful Artificial Intelligence Knows Nothing About Investing. That’s Perfectly Okay. Institutional Investor

Google names exec to oversee responsible AI research after staff unrest Reuters

FortressIQ just comes out and says it: To really understand business processes, feed your staff’s screen activity to an AI The Register. The deck: “Everything will be anonymised, promises vendor.”

Bill Gates: My green manifesto FT

Polar Vortex 2021

Texas outages below half-million but water crisis persists and Texans running out of food as weather crisis disrupts supply chain Houston Chronicle

Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from catastrophic monthslong blackouts, officials say Texas Tribune

It’s Always The Same Lie Defector

How to Boil Water Without Power or Water The Brockovich Report

#COVID19

A U.S. Vaccine Surge Is Coming, With Millions of Doses Promised Bloomberg

Massachusetts’ Vaccine Scheduling Website Crashed. Here’s How People Reacted NBC Boston (Re Silc).

Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations Race/Ethnicity KFF

Why the U.S. Is Struggling to Track Coronavirus Variants Smithsonian

The coronavirus is here to stay — here’s what that means Nature

System Failure Foreign Affairs. On global heatlh governance. This is interesting:

The U.S.-led global health order of the past did achieve major victories, with the high-water mark being the bid by the George W. Bush administration in 2003 to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the program known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Activists capitalized on the moral standing that the United States had gained in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to build an unprecedented coalition with conservative Christian policymakers. They launched PEPFAR with an initial budget of $15 billion over five years. Since then, Congress has reauthorized the program every five years. Having devoted to date over $95 billion, it remains the largest commitment of any government in history to address a disease and the largest commitment by the U.S. government to any cause since the Marshall Plan. It has been enormously successful, preventing, by one estimate, 18 million deaths.

China?

The Hidden Costs of China’s Canceled New Year Parties Sixth Tone

China’s clampdown on Jack Ma’s Ant boosts rivals FT

TikTok’s China twin Douyin has 550 million search users, takes on Baidu TechCrunch

What Happened to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor? The Diplomat

Myanmar

Myanmar’s politics of disaster: How the coup could worsen the pandemic Globe_. Little mention of Myanmar’s enormous and border-hopping working class diaspora.

A boycott by bureaucrats is undermining the coup in Myanmar Economist

Will the Indo-Pacific become the new battleground for US- and China-led alliances? South China Morning Post

Quad vows to work with ASEAN and Europe in first Biden-era meeting Nikkei Asian Review

The Koreas

South Korea PM vouches for AstraZeneca vaccine safety ahead of first shipments Reuters

India

Why Are Farmers Protesting in India? Lawfare. Finally, the Blob reacts.

‘We will harvest as well as protest,’ says Rakesh Tikait, vows to continue stir over farm laws Hindustan Times

Amazon documents reveal company’s secret strategy to dodge India’s regulators Reuters

Syraqistan

Blinken tells EU counterparts U.S. is ready to open talks with Iran Axios but Iran will reverse nuclear actions when U.S. lifts sanctions – foreign minister Reuters

Africa COVID deaths surpass 100,000 amid second wave Al Jazeera

‘Horrible’: Witnesses recall massacre in Ethiopian holy city AP

UK/EU

Over-40s to get Covid jabs by the end of March: Vaccine age bands will be widened in next phase of the rollout – with NO priority for key workers Daily Mail

It’s Not The 90s Any More Stumbling and Mumbling

Peru’s political elite ensnared in ‘Vacuna-gate’ scandal FT

UN Special Rapporteur’s Report on Impact of US Blockade Against Venezuela Venezuelanalysis. Meanwhile, in Bolivia:

Biden Transition

Biden privately tells governors: Minimum wage hike likely isn’t happening Politico. That’s OK. My $2,000 check will make up for it. Oh, wait….

Biden pledges $4 billion for COVAX vaccinations program Deutsche Welle. So much for this America First bushwa! (To be clear, I think this move by President Jellyby is sound both morally and in terms of realpolitik, but the contrast is a little stark. I certainly hope the COVAX program is means-tested!)

Homeland Security officials scrap Trump-era union deal that could have stalled Biden’s immigration policies CBS

Beware Economists Warning Against “Too Much Stimulus” (Again) The Big Picture. Creeps bearing grifts.

Democrats en Deshabille

Cuomo-gate: A Nixonian Scandal Is Engulfing New York David Sirota, Daily Poster. See, e.g. (Bob).

Capitol Seizure

“I Don’t Trust the People Above Me”: Riot Squad Cops Open Up About Disastrous Response to Capitol Insurrection ProPublica

6 Capitol Police officers suspended, 29 others being investigated for alleged roles in riot CNN. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh, Who Should Have Stayed Jeff Christie Matt Taibbi, TK News. Situates Limbaugh in the radio business. (Funny to imagine Limbaugh as a funhouse-mirror reflection of the equally radio-centric Garrison Keillor.)

Don’t Read This If You Were a Rush Limbaugh Fan The Atantic. For due diligence, the classic:

What’s the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenberg?

One’s a flaming gasbag, the other is a Nazi dirigible.

Too soon? I think not.

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook news ban drops reader traffic to news stories by 13 per cent within Australia, Chartbeat data shows ABC Australia

Facebook’s ban on news is a damning view of Australia’s media industry. Splice

Imperial Collapse Watch

The F-35’s Engine Is a Bit Busted Right Now Popular Mechanics (Re Silc). “Problems have forced the Air Force to reduce appearances by the service’s F-35 air show team.” Lockheed’s marketing department must be all in a dither.

America’s can’t-do spirit Axios. On “can’t do America,” see NC back in November 2020.

As the U.S. innovation ranking falls, real critical thinking is needed The Hill (Re Silc).

Oakland Chinatown turns to private, armed security in wake of assaults, robberies San Francisco Chronicle. Next, warring states.

U.S. life expectancy fell by a year in the first half of 2020, CDC report finds STAT. Including this story again to make the point that similar headlines are everywhere. That was never the case with falling life expectancy in flyover due to deaths of despair, despite a three-year trend. I would hate to think tnat’s because in the United States, Covid struck the first hard blow in New York, a media and financial center. Or that the political class and the PMC generally are so embubbled that they only notice near-genocidal levels of fatality when it affects them personally.

Class Warfare

End Capitalism Boston Review

Homeless Living in Vehicles, Screwed Again CIty Watch. Vehicles including RVs.

Uber Shuts Down App That Told Drivers If Uber Underpaid Them Vice

All fracked up: A debut memoir wrestles with toxic masculinity in the oil fields HIgh Country News. Normally, I deprecate “toxic ____” as pop psychology, but this video makes one think:

Uruk and the Emergence of Civilization Patrick Wyman, Perspectives

Antidote du jour (via):

Links 2/19/2021

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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