Links 1/18/22

Links for you. Science:

Calling Omicron ‘Mild’ Is Wishful Thinking. We are far past the point of hoping that this variant will spare us. (must-read; accessible to non-specialists)
Effectiveness of BNT162b2 Vaccine against Critical Covid-19 in Adolescents
COVID-Hospitalization Numbers Are as Bad as They Look: Many supposedly “incidental” infections aren’t really incidental, and cannot be dismissed.
COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report, Week 2, 13 January 2022
Omicron Variant: NYC Report for January 13, 2022
Mutation bias reflects natural selection in Arabidopsis thaliana


Why Don’t The People Who Serve Me Understand It Is Time To Get Back To Normal (excellent)
Look Outside It’s Fucking Raining (also excellent)
Let us now celebrate the retirement of Pat Leahy
It’s time to acknowledge reality. Many schools will likely have to close because of omicron. (yep)
Republican Opposition To D.C.’s Vax Mandate Has Escalated To Nazi Comparisons
What The Fuck Is Wrong With These People (“…maybe masks are dumb, but you guys are in charge and you better figure something out, aside from yelling at people to go to work sick.”)
The Tom Friedman Party
The Filibuster Is Made-Up and Stupid, and So Is the Made-Up, Stupid History to Justify It
He fell in love with D.C. R&B as a child and has spent his life tracing every last note
As state ignores at-home COVID test data, boards of health come up with their own solutions
‘Crime tourists’: An international spree targets D.C. area’s wealthy Asian residents
A new plan to ‘Trump-proof’ the 2024 election quietly comes together
Hot takes on remote schooling are all over the place, but most of them miss the point
36 million families won’t get a child tax credit check this week, thanks to Sen. Joe Manchin
John Kuczwanski killed in Tallahassee road rage incident (looks like the shooting actually was self-defense; cars suck)
Oakland students threaten to boycott classes unless school district meets covid demands
Omicron Isn’t Milder for Everyone, Like Our Patients
New York City high school students stage walkout, citing inadequate covid measures
The Real Estate Industry and New York Progressives Are Headed for a Showdown
Judge critical of Biden administration’s progress on student debt relief claims (failure of governance)
Why the GOP is suddenly running scared from Trump’s Big Lie
What a progressive champion from rural Maine can teach Democrats about winning
As Pandemic Strains School Workers, Substitute Teachers In D.C. Demand Higher Pay

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The War Against ‘Critical Race Theory’ Is Dumber Than You Can Imagine

And by ‘critical race theory’ I mean teaching anything that might be upsetting to white Christian supremacists. Virginia has a bill pending, H. 781, with the usual ‘anti-CRT’ pablum, but it also has this doozy (boldface mine):

B. The Board shall, in furtherance of the citizens skills portion of the 5 C’s in the Profile of a Virginia Graduate, incorporate into each relevant Standard of Learning and associated curriculum framework a requirement that each student demonstrate the understanding of:

1. The fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government, as well as the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States;

2. The structure, function, and processes of government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; and

3. The founding documents of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, including Essays 10 and 51, excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, and the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

And “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice!”

For those as unaware of U.S. history as the august solons of the Virginia House of Delegates, the Lincoln-Douglas debates (note the one s in Douglas) were between Lincoln and Senator Stephen Douglas over whether states admitted to the Union should be mandatory free states, or possible slave states, depending on the popular will of the newly admitted states (states rights has a very long and odious history).

They did not involve Frederick Douglass, the Black abolitionist (though those would have been some very interesting debates!).

Sadly, both the ignorance and the incompetence are par for the course for the Republican Party.

In case they decide to alter the text, here it is for posterity:

Screen Shot 2022-01-14 at 12.05.35 PM

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Links 1/17/22

Links for you. Science:

A Naturalist Stumbled on an Ichthyosaur Skeleton, the Largest in U.K. History
Can You Get the Flu and Covid at the Same Time? Yes, you can get “flurona.” But it’s probably not as bad as it sounds.
Scientists Pull Animal DNA Out of Thin Air
PixR, a Novel Activator of Conjugative Transfer of IncX4 Resistance Plasmids, Mitigates the Fitness Cost of mcr-1 Carriage in Escherichia coli
Screening for SARS-CoV-2 persistence in Long COVID patients using sniffer dogs and scents from axillary sweats samples (WHO IS A VERY GOOD BOY?)
Outcomes of laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Omicron-driven fourth wave compared with previous waves in the Western Cape Province, South Africa


The D.C. region’s snow is melting. Trash, mail and power problems remain.
Montgomery Co. health officials to present vaccine ‘passport’ proposal to council
Why taking down Ron Johnson would be a tremendous victory for Democrats
Vaccine Mandates Have a Bad Day at the Supreme Court (no difference between the two parties tho something something)
Australia should send Novak Djokovic home
The Restaurant Industry Has Always Treated Sick Workers With No Remorse. Will anything change because of Omicron?
No, Republicans aren’t hammering Democrats in redistricting. They’re doing something worse.
Calls for Paid Leave Grow as Workers Face ‘Vicious Cycle’: Their Jobs or Covid Safety
Email spam is breaking through again. Here’s what you can do to minimize it
Montgomery County Council May Implement Vaccine Mandate To Enter Some Businesses
Alabama’s capitol is a crime scene. The cover-up has lasted 120 years.
How the Left Alienates Jews. Jewish voices are too often excluded from precisely the conversations they should be leading.
Locals Who’ve Enforced Vaccine Policies Detail What Workers Can Expect Come Saturday
Stock Trade Ban Gains Steam Despite Pelosi’s ‘Mind-Boggling’ Resistance
Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary
Web3 had better not be Transaction Cost Hell
A DC law could put cash back in the pocket of commuters who turn down parking benefits
The latest ‘Partygate’ revelations may prove too much even for the great escapologist Boris Johnson
A Simple Plan to Solve All of America’s Problems: The U.S. doesn’t have enough COVID tests—or houses, immigrants, physicians, or solar panels. We need an abundance agenda. (fine if it happens, but conservatives are all about racial grievance so how does this get passed?)
Conservatives push for boycott of GOP club over DC vaccine mandate (WATBs)
‘A Menace to Public Health’: Doctors Demand Spotify Puts an End to Covid Lies on ‘Joe Rogan Experience’
Are Maryland hospitals overflowing? Official data and ground reports seem to differ.

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MLK on the Filibuster

Seems relevant to the day and current events:

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Links 1/16/22

Links for you. Science:

High Infection Secondary Attack Rates of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Dutch Households Revealed by Dense Sampling (though minimal Delta, pre-Omicron)
Of Terms in Biology: The Polony Method
Spotted: A snowy owl at D.C.’s Union Station, where it’s eating pigeons and rats
Making Paxlovid
Infectious viral load in unvaccinated and vaccinated patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 WT, Delta and Omicron
How Bad Are Plastics, Really? They’re harmful to health, environment, and human rights—and now poised to dominate this century as an unchecked cause of climate change.


Manchin’s Coal Corruption Is So Much Worse Than You Knew
The Conservative Justices Are Ready to Bring Government to a Grinding Halt (no differences between the two parties something something)
Ted Cruz’s humiliation made headlines. But his colleagues’ cowardice is more worrying.
When life gives you a pandemic, make lemonade
We Got This
A single district attorney in Georgia has the best case against Trump
Steve Bannon Is On to Something (the leftish wing of the Democratic Party has been saying this for years, but now that Young Ezra has blessed it…)
Teacher Shortages Will Linger When the Pandemic Wanes
Biden Team to Prod Covid Test Production Even After Demand Fades
Democratic Party Of Hawai’i Issues Warning To Blue Dog Ed Case
How 2020’s Heroes Became 2022’s Acceptable Casualties
DC Council Accountability Plan
More Kids and Overwhelmingly Black: New Records Show Concerning Trends in D.C. Gang Database
The Religious Case for Abortion Rights: Getting an abortion in Israel made me realize what Americans are getting wrong.
Book bans in schools are catching fire. Black authors say uproar isn’t about students.
It’s been a long, arduous week for Mass. teachers. Why won’t our state leaders apologize?
Water Quality Data Show Where Swimming Beaches Could Be On D.C. Rivers
Instead of More Support, Schools Have Upped Demands on Teachers During Pandemic
Personnel are policy

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No Cars

It’s actually–and unfortunately–quite unusual to be able to see houses in their entirely, because there are usually parked cars. Observed on Swann Street NW, between 15th and 16th, Dupont Circle, D.C.:


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Links 1/15/22

Links for you. Science:

Effective Health Risk Communication About Pandemic Influenza for Vulnerable Populations (from 2009; sadly ignored)
Chasing the ‘Ghost Bird’ of Australia’s Outback
The Data Are Pointing to One Major Driver of America’s Murder Spike: A massive increase in gun sales in early 2020 seems to have contributed to the recent rise in homicides. (the Tiahart amendment is pernicious)
SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Response to 2 or 3 Doses of the BNT162b2 Vaccine in Patients Treated With Anticancer Agents
We’re very lucky: It could be far, far worse
COVID-19 self-isolation changes: scientific summary


The Great Surrender: How We Gave Up And Let COVID Win (excellent)
I’ve Never Felt More Like a Failure as a Parent. My kids are back in school, despite surging Covid cases. We have no other choice (also excellent)
Hospitals are doing their part on COVID-19; we ask the public to do theirs
A rural Washington school board race shows how far-right extremists are shifting to local power
Against work
Man who dumped 90,000 pennies was retaliating against ex-worker, Labor Department says
Some D.C. Trader Joe’s Workers Call The Company’s COVID Practices Into Question
Pelosi opens door to virus aid in spending plan as Omicron surge continues
Massachusetts Mask Debacle: State Fails its Elementary and Secondary School Teachers
Death rates up 40%, setting new 200-year high, life insurance company CEO says
At Mass. and Cass, word is spreading: The tents are coming down and housing is available
Free Tests
When will the Washington Football Team be held accountable?
Walmart, Kroger raise at-home Covid test prices after White House agreement expires. The companies agreed in September to sell the test kits “at cost” for three months. (fire Zients, fire him now)
Facebook may face consequences for providing violent ‘Boogalo’ movement with online platform
Solving the operator ‘shortage’ by not running transit like a business
Beijing and Moscow are losing the vaccine diplomacy battle
Demand for first dose jumps after Quebec requires vaccine passport for SAQ, SQDC: Appointment bookings, which averaged 1,500 a day, ballooned to 6,000 on Thursday following the health minister’s announcement.
Is the US really heading for a second civil war? (21st century Jim Crow is what is likely)
Yale Law professor asserts that the Constitution enacted Dr. Joe Rogan’s most recent opening monologue
The Biden administration is wrong. N95 masks are comfortable — and they work.

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In Case You Missed It…

…a week of Mad Biologist posts:

Sign of the Times?

Good and Not So Good News about Long COVID

“Vaxxed and Done”, “Vaxxed and Cautious”, but No Mention of Vaxxed and Sick?

The State of COVID-19 in D.C.: Very Confused

Fauci Gets Al Gored by the Washington Post

D.C. Should Send a Box of Tests Home with Each Student Every Friday

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Links 1/14/22

Links for you. Science:

Active epidemiological investigation on SARS-CoV-2 infection caused by Omicron variant (Pango lineage B.1.1.529) in Japan: preliminary report on infectious period (looks like seven days without testing would be safer)
Ecology, more than antibiotics consumption, is the major predictor for the global distribution of aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes
Even NASA Seems Surprised by Its New Space Telescope
One-Way Masking Works (the subhead doesn’t capture the ambiguity in the article)
Outbreak reported at Rhode Island hospital after Covid-positive, asymptomatic staff asked to work
Rapid testing for Omicron: is a nose swab enough? (preprint here)


Who Gets the Blame When Schools Shut Down: Somehow, it is teachers who are held responsible—more than government failures or even COVID-19 itself—for pandemic-era school closures.
Manchin’s fealty to big coal becoming crystal clear to the mineworkers he used to court
Fox News guest tells audience to treat COVID-19 with drugs used for transgender health care
Omicron’s threat to D.C. hunger relief: Volunteer shortages
Living In The Florida County That Became A Breeding Ground For Capitol Rioters
In Baton Rouge, there’s a $100 million football coach and everyone else
What Is the Point of Economics? (I think some of these points are good, but others unfair: for any discipline, the interface between research and public policy has the potential to become corrupted)
Low-Skilled, Easily Replaceable Employees Must Return to Work Immediately, Otherwise Our Society Will Collapse
Five myths about the filibuster
The rise of a pro-democracy media
The newest variant of violent extremism? Using paranoia about the pandemic as a recruiting tool

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D.C. Should Send a Box of Tests Home with Each Student Every Friday

Last week, D.C. public schools did a massive round of testing of students the night before the return from winter break. D.C., instead of doing this only after long breaks (as was announced yesterday), should do this weekly: give every student a box of tests (2 tests total), and have them test Sunday evening. This won’t stop Omicron dead in its tracks, but it will limit some of the spread.

As importantly–and I’ve been saying this all along–if a child tests positive, there’s a good chance, the parent is positive too. This might prevent additional spread by parents too.

And D.C. is already doing this with pre-K students.

There’s already a portal that works, so why not do this? At this point, every little bit helps.

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