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2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Summary:
By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Bird Song of the Day Another aria (with a barking dog far off in the background (also a cow!)). * * * #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: Up and down, up and down, with a trendline that’s slighly up. Case count by United States regions: Case decline has now clearly flattened. “COVID-19 cases rise slightly across US” [Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (antidlc)]. “The slight increase in virus

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Another aria (with a barking dog far off in the background (also a cow!)).

* * *

#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:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Up and down, up and down, with a trendline that’s slighly up.

Case count by United States regions:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Case decline has now clearly flattened.

“COVID-19 cases rise slightly across US” [Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (antidlc)]. “The slight increase in virus activity comes as most states are reopening fully, and many states are now choosing to report new cases less frequently than they did 1 year ago. At least 24 states have scaled back how often they report COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, NPR reports. Some states have stopped reporting data over the weekends, while Florida and Oklahoma are reporting data only once a week. Public health experts worry that cutting back on daily reporting could leave states in the dark about new outbreaks. In related news, governors across the country are debating how and when to drop emergency power declarations that have been in place for more than a year. According to the Associated Press, emergency orders are set to expire before Jul 4 in roughly half of states. Currently six states have seen emergency orders expire. Republican governors have voiced their support for letting emergency declarations end as cases drops, but democratic leaders say COVID-19 variants and wavering vaccination rates are reasons to keep such orders in place. Summer is almost here, and most Americans plan to return to normal, pre-pandemic activities.” • My weekly averages are flattening out that slight rise. It’s the same story, though.

Here are the case counts for the last four weeks in the South (as defined by the US Census: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Florida, capital of Latin America, has joined Texas in breaking away from the pack. To be fair, we aren’t seeing a steeply rising curve, either,

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Not entirely good news.

Test positivity:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Up in the South,

Hospitalization (CDC):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Continued good news.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Continued good news.

Covid cases worldwide:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Monroe Doctrine countries not doing so hot.

* * *

#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:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Up and down, up and down, with a trendline that’s slighly up.

Case count by United States regions:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Case decline has now clearly flattened.

“COVID-19 cases rise slightly across US” [Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (antidlc)]. “The slight increase in virus activity comes as most states are reopening fully, and many states are now choosing to report new cases less frequently than they did 1 year ago. At least 24 states have scaled back how often they report COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, NPR reports. Some states have stopped reporting data over the weekends, while Florida and Oklahoma are reporting data only once a week. Public health experts worry that cutting back on daily reporting could leave states in the dark about new outbreaks. In related news, governors across the country are debating how and when to drop emergency power declarations that have been in place for more than a year. According to the Associated Press, emergency orders are set to expire before Jul 4 in roughly half of states. Currently six states have seen emergency orders expire. Republican governors have voiced their support for letting emergency declarations end as cases drops, but democratic leaders say COVID-19 variants and wavering vaccination rates are reasons to keep such orders in place. Summer is almost here, and most Americans plan to return to normal, pre-pandemic activities.” • My weekly averages are flattening out that slight rise. It’s the same story, though.

Here are the case counts for the last four weeks in the South (as defined by the US Census: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Florida, capital of Latin America, has joined Texas in breaking away from the pack. To be fair, we aren’t seeing a steeply rising curve, either,

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Not entirely good news.

Test positivity:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Up in the South,

Hospitalization (CDC):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Continued good news.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Continued good news.

Covid cases worldwide:

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

Monroe Doctrine countries not doing so hot.

* * *

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Biden Administration

The White House Press Corps reporters are little children:

UPDATE “Size matters at Putin-Biden summit venue” [Agence France Presse]. “Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden are meeting Wednesday at the La Grange villa in Geneva, a plush 18th-century mansion surrounded by a tree-lined park overlooking the lake. The classical villa’s symmetrical design means it can be split down the middle and both leaders can have access to exactly the same amount of space…. Despite the meeting being expected to last four to five hours, Biden and Putin will not be sitting down to eat together.”

UPDATE “Live Updates: Biden and Putin hold press conferences after landmark summit” [CBS]. “President Biden was asked again whether he trusts Putin. ‘This isn’t about trust,’ he said. ‘This is about self-interest and verification of self-interest.’ Earlier in the day, there was confusion when Mr. Biden had appeared to nod his head in response to a reporter’s question about whether he trusts Putin. The White House later said the president was merely nodding to acknowledge the press.” • Actually a sane statement by Biden.

“Biden Could Cancel Student Loan Debt Right Now By Signing an Executive Order” [Teen Vogue (outside observer)]. “When the Department of Education was first given the power to issue student loans, it was also granted the power to “compromise, waive, or release any right” to collect on them, an authority known as “compromise and settlement.” Essentially, the Biden administration can suspend the collection of student debt altogether, and poof!, tens of millions of Americans would be student loan debt-free! It’d be like waving a magic wand, except the wand isn’t magic, it’s a legitimate legal authority vested in the Department of Education by Congress.”

UPDATE “Education Department discharges $500 million in debt for 18,000 ITT students in sign of borrower defense progress” [Yahoo Finance]. “The Education Department (ED) is discharging $500 million in student loan debt held by 18,000 borrowers who had been defrauded by now-defunct for-profit chain ITT Tech, a sign that the Biden administration is working to address the borrower defense backlog.” • 18,000 isn’t very many.

“Hunter Biden’s art to sell as high as $500K and the buyers will be kept ‘confidential'” [FOX]. • No opportunities for money laundering here, no siree (and amazingly, FOX doesn’t mention this angle). I actually like Hunter Biden much better than, say, that slippery little scut Pete Buttigieg. But holy moley!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Political Partisanship Is A Propaganda Lubricant” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “[T]ickling people’s egos with hate porn and illusory validation is the best way to get clicks and generate ad revenue… In a society that’s enslaved to egoic consciousness as ours is, the things that generate the most public interest will be those which flatter or infuriate common egoic constructs. This is not unique to politics; advertisers have raked in vast fortunes by associating products with common cultural mind viruses like body image issues and personal inadequacy, and TV show hosts like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich figured out decades ago that you can attract massive ratings by letting people feel smug and superior at the sight of poor and uneducated guests acting out emotionally. To make something go viral, it needs to appeal to the ego. Advertisers understand this. Media executives understand this. Propagandists understand this…. The solution to this, on an individual level, is to dismantle any egoic attachment you might have to either of the mainstream political factions which preserve the status quo…. And of course the ultimate solution to this problem is for humanity to awaken from the ego…. Since humanity’s collective problems ultimately boil down to the fact that sociopaths manipulate our minds at mass scale, such a transformation would make a healthy new world not just possible but inevitable.

“‘Attacks on me are attacks on science’: Fauci blasts critics in fiery TV appearance” [The Independent]. Fauci: “It’s very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science. Because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science. Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me. So if you are trying to get at me as a public health official and scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science. And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that. You have to be asleep not to see that.” • These people have lost their minds. I do like it that Fauci has started referring to himself in the third person. That’s always a good sign.

“Laws Preventing Dark Money Disclosure Are Sweeping the Nation” [ReadSludge]. “In four states, laws were adopted this year that bar government agencies from requiring nonprofit organizations to report their donors, essentially codifying the campaign finance loopholes that have allowed for an explosion of ‘dark money’ in politics. …The four laws passed this year represent the acceleration of a trend dating back to 2018, when Arizona became the first state to prohibit itself from seeking to disclose the identities of nonprofits’ donors. Mississippi adopted a donor disclosure ban in 2019, and three states enacted them last year: Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia. The states that adopted the laws in 2021 are Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Tennessee. Penalties for violating the laws vary between the states, but in some states could include prison sentences. Iowa’s law, for example, says that anyone who knowingly discloses nonprofit donors would be ‘guilty of a serious misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than ninety days or a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or both.'” • If money is speech, why are we trying to make it so people can’t hear it?

“Bearing gifts instead of bad news, Newsom’s political fortunes rise as California reopens” [Los Angeles Times]. ““The recall thrived because of the pandemic, and now it’s going to wither because of the pandemic,” said Democratic political consultant Rose Kapolczynski, who was former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s chief campaign advisor. ‘In the end voters know the governor isn’t perfect, but he’s delivering on what they want most, which is reopening the state.’ Given California’s low coronavirus infection rates and high vaccination levels, Newsom’s move to rescind restrictions is likely to ensure the shutdowns and political errors that helped fuel dissension fade into memories by the time voters head to the polls, observers of state politics say. The state’s recovery, combined with the desire of Californians to get on with their lives, also drains oxygen from the recall effort.” • Plus you can’t beat something with nothing. Who’s the serious Republican alternative?

“People impersonating election officials are knocking on doors in Yavapai County, sheriff warns” [AZ Central]. “People are knocking on the doors of Yavapai County residents and asking how they voted in the last election, while falsely claiming to represent the county recorder’s office, sheriff’s office officials said. The mysterious door-to-door survey, which has alarmed local officials, comes after the U.S. Department of Justice warned the Arizona Senate against plans to canvass voters’ homes as part of an unprecedented review of November’s election. Meanwhile, backers of the Senate’s audit have organized their own such door-to-door efforts.” • Why can’t Republicans go to brunch, for a change?

Stats Watch

Construction: “May 2021 Residential Building Growth Rate Slows” [Econintersect]. “Headline residential building permits and construction completions rate of growth slowed. The rolling averages improved for both permits and construction completions.”

* * *

Carbon: “Top Oil Traders Say Emissions Market Could Challenge Crude” [Bloomberg]. “The world’s largest oil traders are gearing up to profit from buying and selling pollution permits, a market that could become bigger than crude as global leaders seek to limit the impact of climate change. The global carbon market has the potential to be 10 times the size of crude oil trading, said Hannah Hauman, global head of carbon trading at Trafigura Group, the second-largest oil and metals trader. Hedge fund Andurand Capital LLP — historically known for its fossil fuel bets — expects the cost of polluting to double before some new emissions-cutting technologies kick in. Oil traders including Vitol and Trafigura, as well as a host of hedge funds have been building up trading desks to profit from one of the hottest commodities trades of the year. Traders are bracing for tighter supplies as the European Union is preparing for the markets biggest reform to date to align emissions trading with a stricter climate goal for the next decade.”

Shipping: “May 2021 Sea Container Imports Sizzle” [Econintersect]. “The import container counts for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach rate of growth continues in record territory. Exports are still having the worst year since 2009. Import container counts continue to surge. There is chaos in container movements with containers in the wrong place, COVID port shutdowns in China, and shortages of rail cars to move containers – however, the container situation again improved this month – but there continues a shortage of containers and unloading berths.”

Cash: “Cash use plunges during pandemic” [Financial Times]. “The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the decline of cash, with the volume of UK payments made using notes and coins plunging by 35 per cent in 2020 compared with the previous year. Annual payments data from UK Finance, the banking trade body, showed a corresponding rise in contactless payments, online transactions and the use of mobile “wallet” apps that store bank and card details. But the banking trade body said it was ‘too early to say’ if this would be a permanent change in consumer behaviour. Since 2017, cash use has been declining by about 15 per cent per year, so the latest figures represent a significant acceleration. During the pandemic, shoppers have been encouraged to ‘tap and pay’ to reduce contact owing to fears about the virus being transmitted via notes and coins.” • Which is entirely tendentious, since there’s no evidence whatever for fomite transmission. In fact, I’d argue that by increasing transaction times wherever there’s line, paying by phone or card increases the chances of airborne transmission.

Retail: “Amazon wants to make your life easier. Here’s how it’s changing grocery shopping” [CNN]. “Amazon wants to make grocery shopping as efficient as possible. So it’s eliminating checkout lines. The company announced Tuesday that will introduce what it calls Just Walk Out technology — which allows customers to pay for their groceries without waiting in line for a cashier — at its newest Amazon Fresh store. As they enter the new Fresh store’s entrance, customers who want to use the Just Walk Out option will be prompted to scan a QR code from their Amazon app, scan their palm or insert the payment card linked to their Amazon account. Anyone with an Amazon account can use the technology.” • “Scan their palm.” Oh, great. What do I do when my palm data is hacked? Get plastic surgery?

Retail: “Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ widespread in top makeup brands, study finds” [Guardian (Carla)]. “Toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” are widely used in cosmetics produced by major brands in the US and Canada, a new study that tested for the chemicals in hundreds of products found. The peer-reviewed study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, detected what the study’s authors characterized as “high” levels of organic fluorine, an indicator of PFAS, in over half of 231 makeup and personal care samples. That includes lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, foundation, concealer, lip balm, blush, nail polish and more. The products that most frequently contain high levels of fluorine include waterproof mascara (82% of brands tested), foundations (63%) and liquid lipstick (62%). … Products that were checked for individual PFAS compounds contained between four and 13 types in each. The study’s authors tested cosmetics made by dozens of brands, including L’Oréal, Ulta, Mac, Cover Girl, Clinique, Maybelline, Smashbox, Nars, Estée Lauder and more.” • Teen Vogue should show the way by refusing to take advertising from these companies or recommending their products editorially, So should all other fashion and beauty magazines, for that matter. I single out Teen Vogue because they seem to have retained some conscience.

Tech: “Unreliability At Scale” [DSHR’s Blog]. “The basic point I was making was that even if we ignore all the evidence that we can’t, and assume that we could actually build a system reliable enough to preserve a petabyte for a century, we could not prove that we had done so. No matter how easy or hard you think a problem is, if it is impossible to prove that you have solved it, scepticism about proposed solutions is inevitable.” From the comments: “So here we are, we’ve populated a massive cloud with single-thread computational resources that are inherently unreliable, if only at a small rate. It’s an interesting discussion as to whether one should solve this at a hardware, software, or some “middle-ware” place. But it seems clear that it should probably be solved.” Thanks, Amazon! Two horror stories, one from Facebook, one from Google. Look on my works, ye mighty…

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 16 at 1:14pm. Still stuck in neutral!

Health Care

“How to keep workers safe from COVID-19: Focus on the air they breathe” [The Globe and Mail]. “The Globe and Mail interviewed 20 experts in fields ranging from engineering to epidemiology, occupational hygiene, aerosol science, public health and microbiology, along with employers and unions about the growing evidence of airborne transmission, and the implications for workplaces. And yet that message has not, for the most part, trickled down to some provinces, public-health units, and employers. ‘It seems like Canada has been slower to … recognize airborne transmission and really resistant and almost hostile to the idea,’ said Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech who is considered one of the world’s top aerosol scientists. She calls the evidence on COVID-19 and airborne transmission ‘overwhelming.’…. ‘People ‘are trying really hard. It’s just we’ve pointed them in the wrong direction,’ says David Fisman, professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, who is also a member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and an infectious disease physician. ‘They’re cleaning the hell out of everything … spending millions, probably billions of person hours, cleaning surfaces, and it doesn’t change anything.'”

“The Lab Leak Theory Doesn’t Hold Up” [Foreign Policy (dk)]. “From the outside looking in, it seems the balance of probabilities has shifted. Where once, in early 2020, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence pointed toward COVID-19 being of natural origin, now the lab leak theory is gaining steam. But it’s a mirage. Despite proclamations to the contrary, there has been scant new, hard evidence pointing to the lab leak theory. What we have are the same conclusions drawn from China’s malign incompetence, the same pieces of circumstantial evidence, and a speculative theory. None of this means a lab leak is impossible. But the “growing evidence” simply isn’t there.” And: “One of the most effective parts of the lab leak theory is not the quality of evidence but the quantity. Bits and pieces are fired out at a rapid pace, some of them even contradicting each other, before they can be adequately discussed or broken down. Take the report of the sick lab workers: ‘What does it mean that three people, out of a large research staff, were sick with flu-like symptoms in flu season?’ Goldstein said. Snappy headlines highlighting that the workers ‘sought hospital care’ fall apart when the context is considered; in China, primary care is largely delivered through hospitals, and sick notes are compulsory for time off. Visiting a hospital in Wuhan was the equivalent of a trip to the doctor’s office in the United States.” • I know a Gish Gallop when I see one! Well worth a read.

“The promise of disease detection dogs in pandemic response: lessons learned from COVID-19” (Accepted Manuscript) [Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness]. “Disease screening by detection dogs show great promise as a non-invasive, efficient, and cost-effective screening method for COVID-19 infection. We explore evidence of their use in infectious and chronic diseases, the training, oversight, resources required for implementation, and potential uses in various settings. Disease detection dogs may contribute to the current and future public health pandemics; however, further research is needed to extend our knowledge and measurement of their effectiveness and feasibility as a public health intervention tool and efforts are needed ensure public and political support.”

America is back!

Please, no. My brain is melting.

The Conservatory

“Recording of the week: A Yanomami ceremonial dialogue” [Sound and Vision Blog]. “One of the recordings that stood out to me was his recording of wayamou – a type of ceremonial dialogue that the Yanomami use to negotiate relationships, maintain peace and resolve conflicts between different communities. Wayamou is conducted at night and is performed in pairs, with one member from each community taking part. One participant will lead, and depending on whether the communities are on good or bad terms, he will criticise and reprimand the other participant, or submit requests and proposals to them. The speaker will adopt a heavily metaphorical manner of speaking to conduct these conversations diplomatically and avoid addressing sensitive subjects too directly. The other participant will then repeat the phrases, words and syllables uttered by the speaker – sometimes identically and sometimes with slight variations – to show agreement with the speaker or at least an understanding of his point of view. Afterwards, the participants swap roles so both have a chance to speak. The pair is then replaced by series of other pairs and discussions continue throughout the night. It is a duel of persuasion and negotiation, where participants have the opportunity to put words, ideas and desires in each other’s mouth. Ideally, by dawn, solutions or compromises to the communities’ problems will have been reached. The controversial anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon once described wayamou as: ‘something like a fast game of Ping-Pong, with the melodic, staccato phrases as the ball.'”

Juneteenth

“Senate unanimously passes a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday” [CNN]. “The legislation has gained momentum since the massive Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd last year and the Democrats’ takeover of the White House and Congress. But Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson blocked the bill in 2020, saying that the day off for federal employees would cost US taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Johnson dropped his objection this week despite his concerns, paving the way for the bill’s passage in the Senate. ‘Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate,’ said Johnson in a statement. ‘While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter.'”

Guillotine Watch

“When Pop History Bombs: A Response to Malcolm Gladwell’s Love Letter to American Air Power” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. Review of The Bomber Mafia. “This is not a story of two men, as Gladwell would have us believe, tempted like Jesus was by Satan during his 40 nights in the desert. It’s rather the story of top AAF leadership accepting and then implementing plans developed as early as 1943 to put Japan’s cities on their target list and systematically burn them down. Far from going rogue, LeMay was carrying out a plan set in motion by a group of statisticians, mid-ranking military officials, and bureaucrats in Washington, DC. The incendiary bombings of Tokyo that took place under both Hansell and LeMay were practice for the large-scale bombings planned as far back as October 1943, strategized by some of those same “Bomber Mafia” members that Gladwell extols as models of military morality. So much for LeMay giving into temptation in his Quonset hut on Guam. He was following orders. The only exceptional aspect of LeMay’s implementation of the 1944 plan to destroy Tokyo was his decision to fly the planes at a low altitude at night as they released their rain of fire onto the city. While Gladwell acknowledges that “planners back in Washington” came up with the idea to destroy Japan’s six largest cities, he spends no time exploring this phase. Doing so would upend the entire premise that LeMay was leading a pack of “wild animals” that burned down almost all of Japan’s other cities. It was never that simple.” • I’m filing this under Guillotine Watch because, well, Malcolm Gladwell.

Class Warfare

“Seeding by Ceding” [MacKenzie Scott, Medium (DG)]. “People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating. This is equally — perhaps especially — true when their work is funded by wealth. Any wealth is a product of a collective effort that included them. The social structures that inflate wealth present obstacles to them. And despite those obstacles, they are providing solutions that benefit us all…. we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others. Though we still have a lot to learn about how to act on these beliefs without contradicting and subverting them, we can begin by acknowledging that people working to build power from within communities are the agents of change. Their service supports and empowers people who go on to support and empower others. Because community-centered service is such a powerful catalyst and multiplier, we spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected. The result was $2,739,000,000 in gifts to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.” • The NGOs are listed at the end. Oddly, or not, there are no unions among them. Are we really saying that essential workers are not “historically underfunded and overlooked”?

News of the Wired

There are times when, for me, Matisse approaches wallpaper. Pretty wallpaper, but wallpaper. Not this time:

This is lovely, too:

I love Twitter artbots. “Brighten my day” is a cliché, but they do. I recommend them.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant:

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2:00PM Water Cooler 6/16/2021

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