World’s heaviest flying bird may be self-medicating on plants used in traditional medicine Frontiers Science News. Humans aren’t the only species that self-medicates!

The Invasion of the Super Insects Nautilus

The possible worlds of Saul Kripke The Institute of Art and Ideas (AL).

Climate

The renewable energy transition is failing Asia Times (Rev Kev). Especially good on materials.

Smoke on this! Cannabis plants could help fight climate change because they absorb carbon dioxide more than TWICE as effectively as trees Daily Mail

Microbes and Climate Change – Science, People & Impacts (PDF) American Society for Microbiology.

China?

Why China’s efforts to help world’s largest iPhone factory descended into violent protests, further disrupting Apple’s supply chain South China Morning Post. The West may be deprived of its Christmas trinkets!

‘No way we can open’: China’s zero-Covid exit plans unravel FT. About those “plans”: It’s stunning that there is no national system or standard:

Why Did the US-China Relationship Collapse, and Can It Be Repaired? The Nation

Myanmar

India’s Disturbing Ties with Myanmar Junta The Irrawaddy

Report into former prime minister Scott Morrison’s secret ministries released ABC Australia. The report.

#COVID19

SARS-CoV-2 evolves increased infection elicited cell death and fusion in an immunosuppressed individual (manuscript) Sigallab. From the Abstract: “Evolved virus was isolated at different times during a 6-month infection in an immuno-suppressed individual with advanced HIV disease…. These results may indicate that,at least by the cellular measures used here, evolution in long-term infection does not necessarily attenuate the virus.” Oh.

Pocket feature shared by deadly coronaviruses could lead to pan-coronavirus antiviral treatment Phys.org. Important.

Vaccines are not sterilizing and do not prevent transmission. It is bad to catch Covid even if you don’t get hospitalized (or die):

“Noise.” Long Covid and persistent neurological and vascular damage are “noise”? More to the point, the patients are “noise”?

Omicron burst onto the scene last Thanksgiving. How the covid variant changed the pandemic, and what comes next. Grid. I don’t link to Grid much, but this summary is useful:

2022 might best be characterized as the year as many Americans decided to move on from the pandemic, despite its significant ongoing toll.

Last year, about 78 percent of Americans were at least somewhat concerned about covid, according to an Ipsos poll. That dropped to 57 percent this fall. And while only 18 percent of people said they’d returned to their pre-pandemic life a year ago, now nearly half have, the poll found.

The decline of masking is perhaps the most visible sign of this shift. Last fall, 50 to 60 percent of people reported regularly wearing masks. That’s dropped to slightly less than 30 percent, according to one survey.

“For a while, you positioned yourself with the majority; when you wore the mask, it was normal, everyone was doing it, and you looked at people without masks as renegades, as selfish people,” said Markus Kemmelmeier, a social psychologist at the University of Nevada at Reno. “But now, a sense of normalcy has flipped the situation.”

That sense has come from the top. In February, the CDC drastically relaxed its covid guidelines, raising the bar for when to advise indoor masking. Practically overnight, the CDC went from advising masking in nearly all counties to only about 30 percent of counties, signaling a shift away from a collective pandemic response toward an individualized one.

President Joe Biden underlined that shift in September, calling the pandemic “over” in an interview with “60 Minutes,” even as 400 to 500 people still died of covid each day.

“Many Americans decided” or “That sense has come from the top” (as we see from Jha above). Which is it?

How infectious disease experts are responding to Covid nearly three years in STAT (NL).

Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine Disappointing in First-in-Human Trial JAMA “The first-in-human study of intranasal COVID-19 vaccination with an adenovirus-vector vaccine did not induce a consistent mucosal antibody response or a strong systemic response…. The intranasal (IN) vaccination tested in the trial used the existing formulation of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 intramuscular (IM) vaccine developed by University of Oxford/AstraZeneca.” I think asking Oxford/AstraZeneca to develop a nasal vaccine is like asking Gillette to develop a self-sharpening razor.

Summary Of Product Characteristics (SMPC) (PDF) Bharat Biotech. “BBV154 nasal vaccine has been evaluated and shown satisfactory immune response against several variants of such as Delta, Beta and Omicron including the recent variant BA.5.” Phase 3 clinical trials are ongoing. Bharat includes the pack insert so presumably the release process is well along. That said, there’s no published data in any reputable journal, and the approval process seems (to a non-Indian) convoluted and prolonged.

Assessing wastewater-based epidemiology for the prediction of SARS-CoV-2 incidence in Catalonia Nature. From the Abstract: “[T]he mathematical model based on wastewater data showed a good correlation with cumulative cases and allowed us to anticipate SARS-CoV-2 incidence in one week, which is of special relevance in situations where the epidemiological monitoring system cannot be fully implemented.”

Syraqistan

Yuval Noah Harari: Israelis Support ‘Three-classes Solution’ to Palestinian Conflict Haaretz. Whites, Coloured, and Blacks?

European Disunion

France, investigation into illicit financing of Emmanuel Macron’s electoral campaign: his assignments at the McKinsey company are in the sights (Google Translate) Il Fatto Quotidiano (DJG). Imagine that!

Dear Old Blighty

The Secretive US Embassy-Backed Group Cultivating the British Left Declassified UK. By the “left” is meant Keir Starmer:

Pensions experts ‘shocked’ at hidden borrowing across UK schemes Guardian (Rev Kev).

New Not-So-Cold War

U.S. President Biden says Russian oil price cap in play Hellenic Shipping News

EU fails to agree gas price cap amid deep divisions International Business Times

Polish climate minister says EU gas cap proposal is a ‘joke’ Reuters (Re Silc).

Gas Price Cap Could Cause Irreversible Harm To Energy Markets OilPrice (Re Silc).

Russia can no longer rely on General Winter Politico

Putin Seeks to Destabilize Ukraine’s Neighbor Der Spiegel (Re Silc).

Freedom of expression and genuine intellectual debate on Russian television today Gilbert Doctorow

The thin blue records that opened up musical horizons for Soviet youth Pressing Plant

Mexico’s muralism movement first changed Mexico, then the world Mexico News Daily

Supply Chain

Los Angeles and Long Beach Containership Backup Has Officially Ended gCaptain

The Bezzle

Sam Bankman-Fried Said He Would Give Away Billions. Broken Promises Are All That’s Left. WSJ. Fluff.

Blockchain may have a green future regardless of crypto Gillian Tett, FT. More fluff.

Defund the SEC Eschaton. Not fluff. Atrios is strong on the corrupting influence of SBF in the political class which, oddly, is not a story. “Some of your faves are involved!”

Crypto Firm FTX’s Ownership of a U.S. Bank Raises Questions NYT. The Fed’s letter of approval:

Africa’s Growing Crypto Market Needs Better Regulations IMF Blog. “Regulating a highly volatile and decentralized system remains a challenge for most governments, requiring a balance between minimizing risk and maximizing fraud innovation.”

Is Wine Fake? Asterisk

Tech

Musk says granting ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts AP

Healthcare

How We Can Err if We Rely on Randomized Controlled Trials (video) Medscape (NL). Of RCTs: “It’s not bad science to look at real-world case studies.” Grab a cup of coffee.

Police State Watch

San Francisco police consider letting robots use ‘deadly force’ The Verge

Our Famously Free Press

I am Once Again Asking the White House Press Corps to Stop Being a Gigantic Embarrassment. The Present Age. On the White House wedding.

Wild Turkey Sightings Becoming More and More Common in Alameda NBC

How Feral Turkeys Took Staten Island HellGate

Thanksgiving Post-Mortem

Does Thanksgiving Glorify The Historical Slaughter Of The Detroit Lions? The Onion. From 2018, still germane.

Read Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation that Made Thanksgiving a National Holiday Time. “While Thanksgiving is usually traced back to a 1621 meal between pilgrims and Native Americans, its origins as a national holiday are much more recent. On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving. He saw the occasion as a peaceful interlude amid the Civil War.” “Traced back” is in the passive voice. How did this happen? Some Reconcilation Movement bullshit? A holiday about the defeat of the Confederacy and the death of slavery is a holiday I can get behind.

Class Warfare

Firming Up Hierarchy Economics from the Top Down. Interesting!

The globalisation elephant has left the room FT

Nestlé launches vegan foie gras Switzerland Times

Decolonization should extend to collaborations, authorship and co-creation of knowledge Nature

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by Lambert Strether.

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.