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Links 5/11/2021

Summary:
Neanderthals carb loaded, helping grow their big brains Science In the emptiness of space, Voyager 1 detects plasma ‘hum’ Phys.org (dk). Brood X Cicadas Are Emerging at Last Scientific American Yves supplies this “Note on Mayberry v. KKR” (see NC most recently here for background): A sad day Monday in Frankfort, KY. The lawyers representing the so-called Tier 3 Plaintiffs had found a lot of troubling information about the supposedly independent investigator hired to examine the Kentucky Retirement System claims….who’d never managed an independent investigation and only experience with public pension funds being a protege of Alan Hevesi during the time when he was looting them. Judge Philip Shepherd didn’t take kindly to the motion they’d filed presenting this information. He effectively

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Neanderthals carb loaded, helping grow their big brains Science

In the emptiness of space, Voyager 1 detects plasma ‘hum’ Phys.org (dk).

Brood X Cicadas Are Emerging at Last Scientific American

Yves supplies this “Note on Mayberry v. KKR” (see NC most recently here for background):

A sad day Monday in Frankfort, KY. The lawyers representing the so-called Tier 3 Plaintiffs had found a lot of troubling information about the supposedly independent investigator hired to examine the Kentucky Retirement System claims….who’d never managed an independent investigation and only experience with public pension funds being a protege of Alan Hevesi during the time when he was looting them. Judge Philip Shepherd didn’t take kindly to the motion they’d filed presenting this information. He effectively said he didn’t regard the press (even a three month investigation by the New York Times back in the day when it could afford to have actual reporters) as a valid source of information, that anyone who had ever tried to do anything important had gotten negative press, and chided them for making ad hominem attacks.

Inside Pictet, the Secretive Swiss Bank for the World’s Richest People Bloomberg

Nix Facebook’s plan to create Instagram for kids, state attorneys general urge CEO Mark Zuckerberg USA Today

Don’t Trust the Antitrust Narrative on Farms LPE Project

The Chip Shortage Keeps Getting Worse. Why Can’t We Just Make More? Bloomberg. Wait. You’re telling me the world doesn’t change just because we plug new values into our spreadsheets?

#COVID19

COVID-19 is airborne, acknowledges US CDC Business Today. From India.

How Did We Get Here: What Are Droplets and Aerosols and How Far Do They Go? A Historical Perspective on the Transmission of Respiratory Infectious Diseases SSRN

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The COVID-19 puzzle: deciphering pathophysiology and phenotypes of a new disease entity The Lancet. From the Abstract: “Some similarities exist between COVID-19 and respiratory failure of other origins, but evidence for many distinctive mechanistic features indicates that COVID-19 constitutes a new disease entity, with emerging data suggesting involvement of an endotheliopathy-centred pathophysiology.” From Stanford’s Kevin Kuo, Endotheliopathy: “The endothelium, the cell layer lining blood vessels is not a passive conduit, but can rather be thought of as an organ that interacts with both blood components as well as vascular smooth muscle. In this role, the endothelium is crucial for regulation and modulation of immune responses, coagulation, and vascular smooth muscle tone.” Zeroing in, if this layperson understands correctly, on all the weird blood stuff that happens with Covid: The clotting, the strokes, etc.
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FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for younger teens, moving US ‘closer to returning to a sense of normalcy’ USA Today. This “normalcy” frame is making my back teeth itch, starting with the fact that our past normal wasn’t all that great.

Vaccine Production and Open Source Technology CEPR

SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 emergence and sensitivity to vaccine-elicited antibodies (preprint) medRviv. From the Abstract: “The B.1.617 variant emerged in the Indian state of Maharashtra in late 2020 and has spread throughout India and to at least 40 countries…. We report that B.1.617.1 spike bearing L452R, E484Q and P681R mediates entry into cells with slightly reduced efficiency compared to Wuhan-1…. Furthermore we show that the P681R mutation significantly augments syncytium formation upon the B.1.617.1 spike protein, potentially contributing to increased pathogenesis observed in hamsters and infection growth rates observed in humans.”

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The US has got first-world Covid problems CNN. For the parts of the US that are First World, yes.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed. MIT Technology Review (nvl).

China?

Man hangs on for dear life as high winds shatter glass bridge 300 feet in the air The Hill. I’ve always hated these things, because to me they symbolize and normalize precarity as thrilling yet safe (so it’s no coincidence they’ve emerged now in “moderately prosperous” China as a domestic tourist thrill).

Links 5/11/2021

There it is, your “safety net.”

The EU Suspends Ratification of CAI Investment Agreement with China: Business and Trade Implications China Briefing

China’s Deep-Sea Motivation for Claiming Sovereignty Over the South China Sea The Diplomat

Carrie Lam orders another round of coronavirus testing for Hong Kong’s domestic helpers, pulls plug on mandatory vaccination plan South China Morning Post

China demographic crisis looms as population growth slips to slowest ever Reuters

Worried by rise in COVID-19 cases, Taiwan bans large scale gatherings Focus Taiwan

Philippines Plans Military Hub, Sea Cameras Amid China Row Bloomberg

Agent Orange: French court rejects claim against Bayer Deutsche Welle

Myanmar

Interview with Myanmar war lord potential statesman. Thread of videos:

I can’t vouch for the provenance. This caught my eye: “We believe armed resistance is the only answer. However, these efforts mustn’t be short-lived, and they need to be determined and stoic for a long time.” (I’d speculate that “stoic” is the best translation of a Buddhist concept, given that the Arakan National Council is Rakhine, and I wonder what that concept is. Asia hands please comment!)

Thousands suspended at Myanmar universities as junta targets education Straits Times

National Unity Government fights junta’s ‘slave education’ with plan to build parallel system Myanmar Now

‘North Korea-Style Blackout’: Myanmar Journalist Asks World To Keep Watching Vice

India

Indian COVID-19 strain of global concern, WHO warns, as bodies wash up on banks of Ganges ABC Australia

A potentially fatal fungal infection is cropping up among India’s Covid patients. NYT

Indian doctors warn against cow dung as COVID cure Reuters

Covid batters India’s aspiring middle classes FT

State governments can purchase only 25% of vaccines – belying Centre’s claim of equitable policy Scroll.in

Covid Crisis Isn’t Fault of ‘System’ but of Modi’s Systematic Perversion of the System: Arun Shourie The Wire

Exclusive: Foxconn’s iPhone output in India down amid COVID surge – sources Channel News Asia

Syraqistan

Tree catches fire outside Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque, no damage to mosque Reuters. Nevertheless, very poor optics:

Jerusalem: Israel delays Palestinian eviction hearing after clashes Deutsche Welle. The first draft of history. And the second:

Iraqi Kurdistan’s authoritarian turn: western ally ‘discards idea of democracy’ FT

UK/EU

Zero Covid deaths for England, Scotland and NI BBC

A slap in the face’: Hundreds of frontline Covid doctors told they won’t have jobs from August Independent

French soldiers warn of civil war in new letter BBC

Biden Administration

Biden explains that workers must sell their labor power to survive:

After walking back the minimum wage, too! Pasek amplifies:

Biden Administration Restores Rights for Transgender Patients NYT

U.S. Offers States $350 Billion in Aid, With Conditions Bloomberg

Op-ed: Republican and Democratic leaders are far apart on infrastructure. Here’s a common-sense compromise Larry Hogan, CNBC. “A smart and targeted federal package.”

Sanders pushes Medicare expansion in Dems’ next big bill Politics. How civilized countries do it:

Since our Medicare has a bad neoliberal infestation, starting with co-pays and deductibles, it doesn’t meet the baseline for being civilized. Still, better than nothing.

Rahm Emanuel to be appointed US ambassador to Japan FT. Well, so much for the Biden administration (see e.g.).

Pentagon considers ending massive computing contract: report The Hill. Cloud computing. If the Pentagon (!) doesn’t want to go ahead with it, it must be a boondoggle of ginormous scale.

Biden leading ‘whole of government’ response to Colonial Pipeline attack The Hill. The nature of the attack is not clear; could it really be that Colonial shut down the pipeline because its billing system was crippled?!

Pipeline Hackers Say They’re ‘Apolitical,’ Will Choose Targets More Carefully Next Time Vice (Re Silc).

Health Care

Scripps Health CEO Confirms to Staff That Information Systems Damaged By Malware NBC San Diego. Epic fail?

Our Famously Free Press

We can defeat the corporate media’s war to snuff out independent journalism Jonathan Cook

If You Believed Something Else, You Wouldn’t Be Sitting Here: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

Guillotine Watch

Jeff Bezos’s New Yacht Comes With Its Own Yacht? New York Magazine. The Man needs an escape pod. Sensible.

Survivors Stuck in Limbo as PG&E Fire Victim Trust Pays Out $50 Million in Fees KQED

Class Warfare

GOP Governors End COVID Unemployment Benefits to Make People Go Back to Work New York Magazine

Service Workers Aren’t Lazy — They Just Don’t Want to Risk Dying for Minimum Wage Jacobin

Doomsday for bad bosses Jon Walker, The Week

The PRO Act: What’s in It and Why Is It a Labor Movement Priority? Teen Vogue

The Psychedelic Revolution Is Coming. Psychiatry May Never Be the Same. NYT (Furzy Mouse).

Antidote du jour (via):

Links 5/11/2021

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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