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Links 12/29/2021

Summary:
Ecstatic Arkansas donkey is over the moon with his new ‘jolly ball’ Christmas toy Daily Mail You Have No Idea How Hard It Is to Get a Hamster Drunk The Atlantic Inside the cult of crypto FT The 0 Billion Cash Pile Inflating Startup Valuations WSJ Climate A shellfish company gets into the weeds High Country News The Penobscot River and claims against military subcontractors SCOTUSblog Wakashio Captain, Chief Mate Sentenced Over Mauritius Shipwreck gCaptain CN Rail wins right to privately prosecute northern B.C. rail blockade participants Times-Colonist #COVID19 The very bad day at the CDC Etric Topol. Brutal. A must-read. Topol comments: US officials recommend shorter COVID isolation, quarantine AP. Now five days, no test requirement to leave quarantine. Walensky, Monday: “Not all of

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Ecstatic Arkansas donkey is over the moon with his new ‘jolly ball’ Christmas toy Daily Mail

You Have No Idea How Hard It Is to Get a Hamster Drunk The Atlantic

Inside the cult of crypto FT

The $900 Billion Cash Pile Inflating Startup Valuations WSJ

Climate

A shellfish company gets into the weeds High Country News

The Penobscot River and claims against military subcontractors SCOTUSblog

Wakashio Captain, Chief Mate Sentenced Over Mauritius Shipwreck gCaptain

CN Rail wins right to privately prosecute northern B.C. rail blockade participants Times-Colonist

#COVID19

The very bad day at the CDC Etric Topol. Brutal. A must-read. Topol comments:

Links 12/29/2021

US officials recommend shorter COVID isolation, quarantine AP. Now five days, no test requirement to leave quarantine. Walensky, Monday: “Not all of those cases are going to be severe. In fact many are going to be asymptomatic. We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science.” Editorializing just a bit:

Then on Tuesday–

CDC sharply drops estimate of Omicron prevalence in U.S. Politico (Re Silc). “The public health agency’s previous estimate that the rapidly spreading variant accounted for 73.2 percent of cases nationwide on Dec. 18 is now revised down to 22.5 percent — a significant drop that falls outside the agency’s earlier 95 percent prediction interval, or likely range where future analysis will fall, of 34 to 94.9 percent of all cases.” Leaving aside the question of whether the CDC (or whoever “we” is) should be in the business of “[making] sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning” — I would have thought that was an issue for an elected official; say, the President — it’s curious that Tuesday’s Omicron prevalence drop from 73.2% to 22.5% didn’t seem to affect policy or messaging. Surely if Omicron is far less prevalent than first thought, there’s not so much reason to shove people back into their infectious workplaces? Allow me to characterize this decision-making process visually:

Big if true:

I repeat my hope that some CDC whistleblower will through some documents over the NC transom….

Flight attendants fume as CDC gives airlines what they want on quarantine change Politico

Nudge theory exemplified:

* * *

Uncounted: Inaccurate death certificates across the country hide the true toll of COVID-19 Missouri Independent

Experts say COVID-19 cases don’t tell whole story The Hill (AM). “[P]ublic health officials are debating whether the nation needs to shift its thinking. Many people are going to get omicron — but those that are vaccinated and boosted are unlikely to suffer dire symptoms. As a result, hospitalizations and deaths are the markers that government officials need to monitor carefully to ensure the safety of communities as the nation learns to live with COVID-19.” That “learn to live with” Covid talking point is especially rich coming from a public health establishment that has systematically monkey-wrenched all the non-pharmaceutical interventions that would have helped “the nation” do exactly that.

If only there were some society-wide institution where these testing kits could have been dropped off! An “office” of some kind.

* * *

Omicron and Holiday Travel: How to Strategize NYT

Delta says flight to Shanghai turned back because of new Covid rules NBC

* * *

Ferret Study Reinforces Role of Aerosols in SARS-CoV-2 Spread The Scientist. From 2020, still germane. “To study virus transmission, Herfst and his colleagues stacked two ferret containers on top of one another, connected only by a 15 cm–wide duct made of PVC pipe with four 90-degree turns.” Droplet goons need to explain how droplets spread infection around corners.

CDC Data Shows Two-Thirds of Cruise Ships Are Reporting COVID Cases Maritime Executive

* * *

10 lessons I’ve learned from the Covid–19 pandemic STAT News

Omicron Is Our Past Pandemic Mistakes on Fast-Forward The Atlantic. The deck: “We’ve been making the same errors for nearly two years now.” If errors they are.

The head of the Council on Foreign Relations believes the vaccines provide sterilizing immunity:

Since both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated transmit, banning the unvaccinated does not achieve “the right to be safe,” by definition. Of course, such a ban does achieve the right to be safe from social inferiors. Perhaps that is what Haas wants.

China?

China Reckons With Omicron’s Specter Foreign Policy

US shows China its hand on strategic value of ‘unsinkable’ Taiwan FT

How to keep US-China rivalry from starting a nuclear arms race South China Morning Post

Myanmar

Ethnic Armies Condemn Myanmar Junta’s Kayah Massacre The Irrawaddy. Meanwhile, Meta carries on the Facebook legacy:

Syraqistan

Bennett: Israel Faces Unprecedented Omicron COVID Wave, ‘We Can’t Prevent It’ Haaretz

The African nation aiming to be a hydrogen superpower BBC

Claims of vaccine hesitancy in African countries are at odds with the reality on the ground STAT News

Without Tutu and Mandela, Is South African Moral Exceptionalism Dead? Foreign Policy

UK/EU

Walking the World: Bucharest Chris Arnade, Intellectual Int-ing

New Cold War

Foreign Fighters Vow to Support Ukraine Against Russian Invasion Coffee or Die

Reports of Russia’s decline are greatly exaggerated The Hill. “[A]s an honest appraisal of Russian power clearly indicates, this is neither a bipolar nor a unipolar moment. It is an era of multipolar great power competition.”

The FINAL day of the USSR in people’s diaries Russia Beyond

Biden Administration

After OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare Employers Expired … National Law Review

Kamala Harris says she’s looking for ways to ‘creatively’ solve the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis, reminding many of her plan that was criticized as overly-complicated when she ran for president Business Insider (Rev Kev). How about just… writing it off? Not “creative” enough?

Democrats en Deshabille

King of the Ghouls Eschaton. Larry Summers.

2024

The Democrats’ Education Lunacies Will Bring Back Trump Matt Taibbi, TK News. Nationalizing education as an issue.

Conservative Man Tearfully Informs Family Critical Race Theory Has Spread To His Liver The Onion

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

The challenge presented to Ghislaine Maxwell jury: 4 accusers and a wide array of charges Miami Herald. The Miami Herald reporter, Julie K. Brown, has been great on the Epstein story throughout. Worth a clickthrough.

Judge in Ghislaine Maxwell case extends jury deliberations due to omicron concerns ABC

Zeitgeist Watch

Los Angeles woman faces federal charge after allegedly punching another passenger on Delta flight CNN. Corey Robin comments:

Class Warfare

The latest worker shortage may affect your health: Pharmacies don’t have enough staff to keep up with prescriptions NBC. $15.08 an hour….

Covid Panic is a Site of Inter-Elite Competition Freddie DeBoer. “Dealing with Covid is just acting as your own private actuary. That’s it. Your relationship towards Covid and the steps you take to mitigate its risks are fundamentally self-interested decisions that you should try to make as unemotionally as possible.” So, “there’s no such thing as society”?

First: Against Meritocracy Brad DeLong, Grasping Reality. And speaking of meritocracy:

On Giving Up London Review of Books

Amazon Alexa Told a 10-Year-Old Girl to Play With a Live Wall Outlet Gizmodo

Antidote du jour (via):

Links 12/29/2021

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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