Healthcare 

Links 1/29/2021

Dear patient readers,

Your at best cranky blogger is even more short-tempered due to being under the weather. I am disproving the IM Doc claim that no one is getting any bugs save Covid. I have swollen glands, feel generally crappy (the way I do when I take meds that disagree with me) and am super cold (not chills, my hands and feet are palpably extremely cold despite the thermometer being set at 75). No Covid symptoms at all. Go figure.

As a result of my bad mood, I was extremely harsh with some readers yesterday that I excoriated in private when they questioned our/our lawyer’s reading on Section 230 as it applies to this site (the short version is we are a content provider and our “not a chat board” policy and conduct means we cannot take the position we are an “internet platform”). I separately think it is extremely irresponsible of the EFF to do what amounts to giving legal advice to bloggers by assuring them that they are protected by Section 230 when any analysis would have to be site-specific and there is no case law on this issue. The EFF’s recklessness is made worse by the fact that most bloggers would have difficulty raising the dough to mount a good defense if they were hit with a spiteful defamation suit.

Please do not discuss Section 230 further below; I will rip out any comments because otherwise I’d be tempted to get very testy, which would be even worse. I’m just using this as an illustration of how I am in extreme “Don’t annoy me” mode. Hopefully I will feel better by next week.

Zebra Finches Become a “Flock of Songwriters” in a Room Full of Electric Guitars My Modern Met (David L)

These Are the Highest Resolution Photos Ever Taken of Snowflakes Smithsonian (David L)

Cell cultures as pet food – Pets may soon be fed laboratory-grown meat Economist (furzy)

Nutria: What You Should Know About the Invasive Rodent Tree Hugger (resilc). Um, nutria fur often used to line coats back in the days before fur policing.

A litmus test for the climate James Boyce, Bangor Daily News

Teen Scientist Finds a Low-Tech Way to Recycle Water Discover (David L)

Solar power got cheap. So why aren’t we using it more? Popular Science (resilc). What about “switching costs” don’t you understand? As well as “What about not having enough reliable sunlight some/a lot of the year?”

#COVID-19

EU could block millions of Covid vaccine doses from entering UK Guardian. Vaccine hoarding due to drug-makers trying to favor higher-priced orders. Don’t mess with someone who regulates you.

Is a vaccine trade war brewing? UnHerd (resilc)

Science/Technology

Why Scientists Are Very Worried About The Variant From Brazil NPR (David L)

Coronavirus variants: What they do and how worried you should be ars technica (David L)

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine 95% effective if given 3 months apart, says SII’s Adar Poonawalla and Business Today (furzy)

Novavax says its Covid-19 vaccine is 90% effective, but far less so against one variant STAT

German officials say AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t be given to over-65s, citing lack of data CNN. Hasn’t stopped the US with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines with pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Experts say serology tests unreliable, as immunity doesn’t require antibodies Times of Israel (furzy). Huh? But over my pay grade, am running by experts.

Plitidepsin has potent preclinical efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the host protein eEF1A Science. See popular stories below:

Scientists identify new COVID-19 drug that’s ‘27.5 times’ more effective than remdesivir and Oxford University mulls trials of coronavirus ‘wonder drug’ Business Today (furzy)

Amazon algorithms promote vaccine misinformation, UW study says Seattle Times (furzy)

US

South Carolina detects first US cases of coronavirus strain first seen in South Africa CNN (Kevin W)

N.Y. Severely Undercounted Virus Deaths in Nursing Homes, Report Says New York Times (Kevin W)

A big hurdle for older Americans trying to get vaccinated: Using the internet Vox (resilc). I find this sort of piece deeply offensive. One, in Alabama, the only way to get an appointment on the Internet is on the phone. Two, the reason it’s hard in many place to get an appointment has NOTHING TO DO with older people’s internet skills, it’s totally shitty interfaces and no appointments. But of course, the problem has to be the stupid users.

U.S. handling of American evacuees from Wuhan increased coronavirus risks, watchdog finds Washington Post (furzy)

Finance/Economy

Progressives push Biden for recurring stimulus checks Politico (resilc). It only occurred to them now that real people need money on a regular basis?

Brexit

Brexit: little local difficulties Richard North. A steady drip-drip-drip of stories like these.

India

Frequently Asked Questions on Farmer protests Yogesh Upadhyaya (resilc)

Russia

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 28 JANUARY 2021 by Patrick Armstrong Sic Semper Tyrannis (Kevin W)

Navalny Kept in Custody Ahead of Sunday Protests Moscow Times (furzy)

Syraqistan

Iran Hawks’ Latest Smear Campaign Has Already Failed American Conservative

Imperial Collapse Watch

Air Force New Fighter Jet: Secret 6th Generation Fighter Details Esquire (UserFriendly). So a new bright shiny expensive military plane toy to distract attention to all the money thrown at the flying turkey known as the F-35? Actually that is not fair to turkeys, since I have seen wild ones fly (well, glide).

Today’s jet fighter designers don’t get the point Asia Times (Chuck L). I beg to differ. They are selling PowerPoint to procure college tuitions.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Shocking: 11-Year-Old Boy Learns Hacking Tips From YouTube, Demands Rs 10 Crore Ransom From Father India Today (dk)

Trump Transition

Trump’s ‘radioactive’ properties in New York are plummeting in value, report claims Independent. Resilc: “What is market value…………witchcraft.”

Educator Shocked that GOP put Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke of Assassinating Nancy Pelosi and denied Parkland School Shootings, on House Education Committee Juan Cole (resilc)

Capitol Seizure

Capitol Police Can Sue the Stop the Steal Mob, Giuliani, and Even Trump Himself Slate

Managed to miss this when it first appeared, but in case you harbored any doubts as to who is in charge:

Some of the issues leading to this outburst here (as in what the end of the filibuster might be used to accomplish) Democrats Introduce Senate Bill To Make D.C. The 51st State Jonathan Turley. Note the Biden commission on Supreme Court changes is pure eyewash. A study is a way to pretend to do something and not do anything. On that matter, Biden is just trying to ground out the crowd pushing to expand the Supreme Court rather than tell them “no”.

Health Care

“I Pretty Much Immediately Discovered How Bad American Health Care Was” Jacobin (Kevin C)

Apple CEO Tim Cook links Facebook’s business model to violence CNBC (furzy)

Google propagandizing users in Australia (note I get the same first result in the US without the Google spam). From Kevin W:

Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock tumbles toward a record loss, just as J.P. Morgan Chase discloses large stake MarketWatch (UserFriendly)

Senate panel to hold hearing after high-flying Reddit stocks cause Wall Street chaos Axios (furzy)

AOC rejects Cruz support over Wall Street chaos: ‘You almost had me murdered’ CNN (Kevin W)

Lawmakers rip Robinhood’s decision on GameStop The Hill. No one here asking if Robinhood was adequately capitalized. Help me.

Oh wait, after I wrote the above, someone is on that case: Robinhood App Is Said to Draw on Credit Lines From Banks Amid Stock Market Chaos Bloomberg

Jordan Belfort: Robinhood shutting down GameStop activity because massive liability CNN (furzy). Note Belfort implies that the fault here was Robinhood not shutting down the trading earlier if they had reason to believe there was collusion.

Separately, dunno why no one has gone after Robinhood. Their revenues come primarily from Citadel paying for their order flow. But per Fox, Citadel say it has a firewall. Hopefully with all of this official brouhaha someone will probe the veracity of this claim. But likely not, Bernanke is on Citadel’s payroll:

Citadel LLC and the market maker Citadel Securities have a firewall between them, the latter does not know the positions of the former. Citadel Execution Services, part of the market-making business saw the most order flow from Robinhood during the third quarter.

Suck It, Wall Street Matt Taibbi (furzy)

Angry Hedge Fund Billionaire Is Mad at GameStop Redditors for “Attacking Wealthy People” Vanity Fair (furzy). Leon Cooperman has long been the poster child billionaire giving billionaires a bad name (as if that’s hard to do).

FAA Files Reveal a Surprising Threat to Airline Safety: the U.S. Military’s GPS Tests IEEE Spectrum

Class Warfare

Can DC To-GoGo Compete With Big Delivery Services? Washington City Paper (UserFriendly)

Look Who Else Doesn’t Like Vote by Mail Washington Monthly (resilc)

Antidote du jour. I am pretty sure I ran this antidote from Chuck C over two years ago, but I like the ferocity:

And a bonus (Kevin W). I love the way the cat looks back at the person with the camera, as if saying, “Aren’t you going to do something?”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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