Links 12/4/22

Links for you. Science:

‘The ghost that haunts Monteverde’: how the climate crisis killed the golden toad
Effectiveness of Bivalent mRNA Vaccines in Preventing Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection — Increasing Community Access to Testing Program, United States, September–November 2022
The Monkeypox Cases That Might Have Been Missed
America’s Billion-Dollar Tree Problem Is Spreading
Is Science Really Self-Correcting? Yes, But the Mechanism Varies
Vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 reinfection during periods of Alpha, Delta, or Omicron dominance: A Danish nationwide study


The clear message of the midterms: the press is out of touch with the public
Inflation due to Covid and war in Ukraine shows us the limits of monetary policy
Republicans Hate Everything About Trump’s Dinner With Ye and Fuentes Except Trump (Because They Need to Win Republican Primaries)
Organ Donations Rise Around Motorcycle Rallies
Shopify won’t cut ties with controversial Libs of TikTok
Tokyo’s Iconic Capsule Tower Cubes Get a New Lease on Life
How the media — including NPR — overlooked the significance of a landmark study on reading education
Endless Demands For Sister Souljah Moments
Asa Hutchinson Is Saying the Right Things for a GOP Presidential Candidate. Too Bad That’s Doomed.
The Great Pearl Clutching
One Grifter Down
The ‘Do YoUr oWN ReSEarch’ Crowd Is Cracking Up Arizona’s Elections
Ye Pepe Fuentes
Herschel Walker’s in deep doo-doo for voting in Georgia while getting tax breaks on Texas home
America’s Post-Trump Delusion Is in Full Swing
Elon Musk feuds with Apple as Twitter moderation, payroll, child protection teams collapse
Democrats prepare to upend presidential primary calendar. The DNC’s rules committee is set to meet later this week to consider booting Iowa from its first-in-the-nation slot and add new early states.
Tech Journalism
‘I never opened the code for FTX:’ SBF has long, candid talk with vlogger
Speaking Of Dumbasses Who Were Musk’s Marks
Republicans don’t care that Trump’s a white supremacist — just that he’s indiscreet about it
Long Covid may be ‘the next public health disaster’ — with a $3.7 trillion economic impact rivaling the Great Recession
Sarah Langenkamp loved biking. She shouldn’t have died because of it.
A Letter to the DeSantis Fan-Boys From a Real Never Trumper
Sam Bankman-Fried doesn’t read. That tells us everything.

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Red Leaf

Observed on P Street NW between 17th and 18th, Dupont Circle, D.C.:


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Links 12/3/22

Links for you. Science:

Early results look good for ‘universal’ flu vaccine that could stop the next pandemic
The Mystery of the Blue Whale Songs
Deadly Bird Flu Outbreak Is The Worst In U.S. History
Why did the FBI track Nobel-winning microbiologist Salvador Luria? The refugee phage pioneer was denied a passport for championing peace and freedom.
Scientists ‘re-discover’ lost pigeon species in Papua New Guinea
An engineering marvel just saved Venice from a flood. What about when seas rise?


Covid deaths skew older, reviving questions about ‘acceptable loss’
The Culture Workers Go On Strike
The real reasons Georgia should reelect Raphael Warnock
In a land of cold, the architecture is tested by heat
Trump Brought Nazis Into the GOP. DeSantis Won’t Expel Them. White nationalism is not just a Trump problem.
Fuentes gloats, Trump doubles down, and Republicans wave white feather over dinner date
An S.B.F. Ally in the Barrel. Sean McElwee, the ur-connected political operative, is the latest to get singed by the FTX scandal following a no-confidence vote at Data for Progress. His exit speaks volumes, not only about Sam Bankman-Fried, but about the power of social media contagion.
Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2020
Adams Morgan in the early 80s – specifically, 2327 18th St., NW.
After envisioning themselves as centrists, tech billionaires like Elon Musk have moved to the far right
The New York Times Is in the Tank for Crypto
Elon Musk’s engagement with the far right on Twitter is out of control
Twitter is no longer enforcing its Covid misinformation policy
What’s at Stake in the University of California Graduate-Worker Strike: The seventy per cent of Americans who support unions should understand that the future of organized labor won’t be in coal mines or steel mills, but in places that might cut against the stereotypes.
We’ve Got Five Years, What A Surprise
Twitter staff cuts enabled spam porn deluge that drowned out China protest news
Twitter grapples with Chinese spam obscuring news of protests
Elon Musk Is Destroying the Myths of Silicon Valley in Front of Our Very Eyes
Railroading workers
How Trump is handing white supremacists huge propaganda victories
Look who came to dinner: Nick Fuentes (and Ye) want to push GOP toward full-on Nazism
There is no such thing as ‘herd immunity.’ Why the ongoing dangers of COVID-19 are real
We ranked the accuracy of video games set in D.C.
QAnon as projection, an endless series

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In Case You Missed It..

…a week of Mad Biologist posts:

She Will Rise

The ‘Newsweek-ifcation’ of Twitter

Because They Need to Win Republican Primaries

Centrists Misunderstand the Moment: The Sick Leave Edition

Still Vibing About Long COVID

Kanye West’s Mistake Was Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud

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Links 12/2/22

Links for you. Science:

Parasite gives wolves what it takes to be pack leaders. Study is one of the few to show the behavioural effects of Toxoplasma gondii in wild animals.
‘Labour advantage’ drives greater productivity at elite universities
Increased T1DM risk in children infected with SARS-CoV-2
Protection against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant challenge in macaques by prime-boost vaccination with Ad26.COV2.S and SpFN
Individual bat viromes reveal the co-infection, spillover and emergence risk of potential zoonotic viruses
De novo origins of multicellularity in response to predation


Jewish Texans see surge in antisemitism as a precursor to fascism
Harassment in Economics Doesn’t Stay in Economics
Desperate covid long-haulers turn to costly, unproven treatments
There’s an upside to crypto’s collapse
Sam Bankman-Fried’s Truly Effective Philanthropy: Teaching (apparently, some were unable to understand that this was satire)
The Biden White House Is Making Trump’s Nazi Thanksgiving Painful For Republicans. The Biden White House is calling on Republicans to condemn Trump’s Holocaust denying holiday.
How a Faction of the Republican Party Enables Political Violence
Top U.S. addiction researcher calls for broad deregulation of methadone
Teachers Are Burned Out. Unions Can Help Them Understand Why — And That They’re Not Alone.
Hot Dog Guy Dot Gif
Chassidic Men Denigrated by Customs Border Patrol Agent at U.S.-Canadian Border
Tick, tock Democrats. Time to get to that ‘saving the country’ stuff you need to do
Sharon Stone reveals unlucky outcome following doctor’s visit as she catches Covid
‘The View’ Cohost Ana Navarro Got “Stuck Quarantining” In NYC Hotel After Testing Positive For Covid
Why I Quit Elon Musk’s Twitter
It’s not just Covid. Flu and RSV mean masks need to come back. Mask mandates not only stem the spread of diseases but also have helpful psychological benefits.
Liz Cheney Is Fighting to Remove One Man, Not To Change the Party
The guy who got the midterms right explains what the media got wrong
The U.S. Has Always Known Political Violence, But Seldom Has It been so Pointless
At Least the Tech Winter Will Kill Off Some Zombie Companies
Roundabouts are (slowly!) eating the suburbs
The Black Investors Who Were Burned by Bitcoin
Truth can defeat ‘gaslighting,’ the word of the year. But not always.

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Kanye West’s Mistake Was Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud

So Kanye West went on Alex Jones’ show, and You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next! Actually, even if you haven’t heard what happened, you probably can guess what happened next: lots of overt anti-Semitism.

What’s remarkable is how desperate Jones was to get West to speak in code, the usual winks and nods to anti-Semitism, such as ‘globalists’ or ‘George Soros.’ Nope! West went full Nazi (his fanbois are trying to spin this as West just being so full of love, he loves everyone–including Hitler). But that said, his real sin, both through his own words and through giving anti-Semite incel Nick Fuentes (who is a really creepy dude) a larger platform by making him his presidential campaign manager, is saying the quiet part out loud. The anti-Semitism, unlike the racism, is supposed to be a dog whistle, and West just let it rip instead.

Unfortunately, playing footsie with anti-Semitism isn’t a recent thing for movement conservatives and Republicans. This isn’t just West–remember this tweet (which was only pulled down yesterday):


A significant fraction of the conservative movement and the Republican Party are white Christian supremacists–and the Christian component is obvious to anyone who isn’t Christian. It is an organizing principle for the far right. Republicans can’t win without them, so the anti-Semitism, along with the other usual forms of bigotry will continue, until there is a cost to being evil. So far, they haven’t paid enough of a cost to change their behavior.

Update: Great minds think alike, etc. (boldface mine):

But in doing so, West revealed what lurks behind the kind of rhetoric that mainstream conservatives are willing to employ and the sorts of forces they’re willing to ally themselves with when it’s deemed politically convenient. We know what some part of their audience hears when they blame “George Soros” for migrant caravans and rail against “globalist” plots against America.

Kanye West has bombed his career. The right’s plausible deniability is collateral damage.

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Links 12/1/22

Links for you. Science:

How could COVID be involved in the pediatric health crisis resulting from a surge in RSV and flu in various places (Canada, USA, Europe)? There are at least three ways.
Pocket feature shared by deadly coronaviruses could lead to pan-coronavirus antiviral treatment
The free fatty acid–binding pocket is a conserved hallmark in pathogenic β-coronavirus spike proteins from SARS-CoV to Omicron
World’s heaviest flying bird may be self-medicating on plants used in traditional medicine
Is Wine Fake?
Where Have All the Snow Crabs Gone? Eleven billion crabs vanished. Is climate change really to blame?


Elon Musk and the Narcissism/Radicalization Maelstrom
Sure, Sounds Good, Run With That
Biden’s zero-emission government fleet starts with USPS
Only Fools And Frenchmen
Keith Levene, founding member of the Clash, dies at 65
900 block of F St., NW c. 1980
When it comes to school vouchers, Josh Shapiro should pass. As a professor of education policy, I can say without reservation that vouchers hurt academic achievement for children. How much so? Think about what the pandemic did to standardized test scores. (the reason Shapiro supports vouchers is because he needed to neutralize/get onside DFER–not excusing it at all, but his position has nothing to do with policy)
What Does Queens Need More, a New Park or a New Train Line?
Democrats Should Stop Appearing On Fox News, Here’s Why
Why I Want Twitter to Live
The Lost Gospel of S.B.F. New revelations illuminating the world-changing ambitions, aborted blueprints, utopian projects, and democracy-transforming money-bombs emanating from S.B.F., Inc., before the crypto billionaire’s house of cards came crashing down.
Why Walmart workers are still broke
FOCUS: Old-Style Blogging Should Be New Again!
How to Weave the Artisan Web
Nevada passed the ranked-choice voting, open primary ballot question. What happens next?
Retailers say thefts are at crisis level. The numbers say otherwise
What Fleeing Twitter Users Will—and Won’t—Find on Mastodon
Over 1 billion people believe in witchcraft — especially in places with weak institutions
The Expanded Child Tax Credit Is Gone. The Battle Over It Remains.
It’s Public Land. But the Public Can’t Reach It.
Boston schools lost 15,000 Black students in the past 20 years. Where did they go, and will they ever return?
How one man quietly stitched the American safety net over four decades
The Techno-Feudal Method to Musk’s Twitter Madness
Elite Conservatives Have Taken an Awfully Weird Turn. As it leaves behind American values, has the right gotten too strange to win elections?

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Still Vibing About Long COVID

And not in a good way. One of the most frustrating things about the disappearance of long COVID from any meaningful policy discussion is that, when it comes to long COVID (and for that matter, COVID in general), there is little discussion of actual specifics. For example, no one is providing estimates of what percentage of vaccinated and boosted people, if infected with COVID, will contract long COVID–various symptoms that are debilitating enough such that working and basic care are difficult or impossible. Based on my read of the literature, I’ve pegged that at 1-2 percent, though I might be too conservative according to some.

While the middle-aged Substack Bois downplay long COVID, and rarely mention it–their Manly Logical Rigorousness protects them from long COVID apparently–when they do mention it, there are no numbers attached. No quantification of effect, no estimates. Of course, they would never accept a non-numerical vibes-based policy for other subjects, but it seems half-assing it with a pandemic that has killed well over a million people is just fine.

Which brings us to the most recent edition of the Household Pulse Survey:

As part of an ongoing partnership with the Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recently added questions to assess the prevalence of post-COVID-19 conditions (long COVID), on the experimental Household Pulse Survey. This 20-minute online survey was designed to complement the ability of the federal statistical system to rapidly respond and provide relevant information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. Data collection began on April 23, 2020.

Beginning in Phase 3.5 (on June 1, 2022), NCHS included questions about the presence of symptoms of COVID that lasted three months or longer. Beginning in Phase 3.6 (on September 14, 2022), NCHS included a question about whether long-term symptoms among those reporting symptoms lasting three months or longer reduced the ability to carry out day-to-day activities compared with the time before having COVID-19. Phase 3.6 will continue with a two-weeks on, two-weeks off collection and dissemination approach.

The two questions about long COVID are:

Did you have any symptoms lasting 3 months or longer that you did not have prior to having coronavirus or COVID-19?

Long term symptoms may include: Tiredness or fatigue, difficulty thinking, concentrating, forgetfulness, or memory problems (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”), difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, joint or muscle pain, fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations), chest pain, dizziness on standing, menstrual changes, changes to taste/smell, or inability to exercise.


Do these long-term symptoms reduce your ability to carry out day-to-day activities compared with the time before you had COVID-19?

Answer choices: Yes, a lot; Yes, a little; Not at all

A key takeaway from the data is that 29% of infected respondents say they have experienced long COVID at some point, and it seems rather debilitating. While it’s likely the effects of long COVID are overestimated as a percentage of the entire population by about a third (the number of respondents who say they have had COVID is only 50%, which is lower than serological surveys), even if we cut that 29% to 20%, and then claim vaccination cuts the probability of long COVID by ninety percent, that’s still a lot of long COVID among those who are up to date on their shots.

This is going to be a serious problem, both for the healthcare system and the economy, and vibes aren’t going to cut it.

Posted in COVID-19, Fucking Morons | 2 Comments

Links 11/30/22

Links for you. Science:

Rare Baby Ghost Shark Caught in New Zealand’s Chatham Rise
The Invasion of the Super Insects
Integrating phylogenetic and functional data in microbiome studies
This flu season is looking really scary, in one chart
Will pigs solve the organ crisis? The future of animal-to-human transplants
Scientists and state officials honor underappreciated fish with Gar Week


Angry Right-Wing Moms Are Trying to Have Librarians Arrested by “Constitutional Sheriffs”
Covid is no longer mainly a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Here’s why.
Some Thoughts on Democrats and “Loudness”
With record covid cases, China scrambles to plug an immunity gap
How Immunocompromised Health Experts Are Approaching the Holidays
Why Is Bryan Adams’s “Summer Of ’69” The Only Song On My Radio?
What if gun owners had to pass a test? Czech Republic offers an answer.
An Oral History Of The Time Six Doctors Swallowed Lego Heads To See How Long They’d Take To Poo
Is Donald Trump Ineligible to Be President?
Fear of Quarantine Camps, Not Covid, Is Shutting Down Beijing
‘Opening the gates of hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts
Why I Can’t Go Home Again
Vox Populi, Vox Dei: Elon Musk, Donald Trump, an 8th-century Monk named Alcuin, and the importance of historical context.
An anti-semite, a white supremacist, and the former guy sat down to dinner at Mar-a-Lago
Sick kids are filling hospitals. But there aren’t enough beds.
Kansas town weighs racial justice as ex-officer faces charges of abuse
The Disturbing World of the New GOP
Reparations for Black Americans can work. Here’s how.
Tribal Rights Attacked
3 reasons Yale Law was right to quit the U.S. News rankings
Nancy Pelosi’s Next Chapter
America’s gun violence and the incalculable toll of empty seats
Conspiracy Theories
The Photo Issue: The Real Americana

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Centrists Misunderstand the Moment: The Sick Leave Edition

Between the Washington Post editorial board calling for sending federal workers back to the office so D.C. (not Wor-Shing-Tun) can have more tax revenue* and the Biden Administration choosing to side with capital over labor because railroad workers want seven days of paid sick leave per year, it’s pretty clear significant parts of the moderate establishment don’t understand how the pandemic changed attitudes among Democratic-aligned voters. Adding in the Biden Administration’s response to Omicron, which has been mediocre at best, it’s clear they don’t get how much people value sick leave.

Because people saw first-hand how important sick leave is. Yes, the ‘Let ‘er rip’ assholes are gonna asshole, but the Democratic rank-and-file, along with the Democrat-curious, like sick leave. While one would expect Sen. Sanders to side with the railroad workers, even Sen. Hickenlooper–who makes Biden look like a leftist–gets it. (Really didn’t have a Sanders/Hickenlooper coalition on my 2022 bingo card).

Will this cause massive disillusionment with the Biden administration? Probably not. But this is a self-inflicted wound, and, in the next term, with a Republican-controlled House, professional Democrats are going to need a motivated base to counteract Republican lunacy.

Really not reading the room here.

*What a bunch of fucking assholes.

Posted in Democrats, Fucking Morons, Public Health, Transportation, Unions | Leave a comment