Links 8/31/2020

Bacteria on the outside of the International Space Station survived for years in the vacuum of space Salon (original).

How Bacteria-Eating Bacteria Could Help Win the War Against Germs NYT

The Fintech Debt Trap The Intercept

The Next Frontier Investor Amnesia. Real estate.

The Conscience of Silicon Valley GQ. Jaron Lanier

Electric car costs to remain higher than traditional engines FT

The Big Tesla Hack: A hacker gained control over the entire fleet, but fortunately he’s a good guy Electrek

The Mystery House: How a Suspicious Multimillion Dollar Real Estate Deal Is Connected to California’s Deadliest Fire Pro Publica

California’s Prison Chief is Retiring Amid Virus, Protest Pressure NBC


Genomic Evidence for a Case of Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 (preprint) The Lancet. From the Abstract: “Herein, we describe the data from an investigation of two instances of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the same individual. Through nucleic acid sequence analysis, the viruses associated with each instance of infection were found to possess a degree of genetic discordance that cannot be explained reasonably through short-term in vivo evolution. We conclude that it is possible for humans to become infected multiple times by SARS-CoV-2, but the generalizability of this finding is not known.”

FDA Chief Promises Transparency for Covid-19 Vaccine Review Bloomberg

LG has designed a wearable air purifier for your face CNN. When will creativity similar to this be unleashed for masks:

U.S., Britain record worst anti-pandemic performance: poll Xinhua. Ouch.

The Case for a Coronavirus-Vaccine Bond The New Yorker

Surprising COVID-19 side effect: More companies adopt the 4-day workweek Fast Company


China censors Thomas Piketty’s book that touches on nation’s growing inequality South China Morning Post. I bought it; I’m reading it. Heavy going!

US to declassify Taiwan security assurances FT. Hoo boy.

Chinese-Made Smartphones Are Secretly Stealing Money From People Around The World Buzzfeed

One Drought and One Volcanic Eruption Influenced the History of China: The Late Ming Dynasty Mega‐drought Geophysical Research Letters

China promises its Mekong neighbours priority access to a coronavirus vaccine developed in China South China Morning Post.

Mutated coronavirus strain found in Indonesia as cases jump Reuters. Fourth largest country in the world by population….

For some Indonesians, COVID-19 stigma worse than disease Jakarta Post


India Has Record Single-Day Infections as Virus Hits Hinterland Bloomberg

Tata: transforming a conglomerate for India and the world FT

Japan looks to AI as coronavirus challenges go-and-see quality control mantra Reuters


Emmanuel Macron’s big Beirut challenge Politico

Saudi Aramco Discovers Two Oil, Gas Fields in Kingdom Bloomberg. Maybe we can make them World Heritage sites?


Five tense years since the 2015 migrant crisis Agence France Presse

New Cold War

‘Something Broke Inside Belarusians.’ Why an Apolitical People Rose Up NYT (Re Silc) vs. Anatomy of coup attempt in Belarus Indian Punchline (VP).

Trump Transition

Shutdown politics set to collide with coronavirus aid The Hill

Trump Program to Cover Uninsured Covid-19 Patients Falls Short of Promise NYT (Re Silc).

The Politics of Postal Reform Have Always Been Part of USPS History Time


‘DemExit’: virtual convention aims to create US leftwing alternative Guardian. Oddly, or not, very thin coverage.

Biden campaign adviser: Trump ‘has been trying to incite violence this entire summer’ The Hill

The Money Says Kenosha Is Helping Trump Bloomberg

We Don’t Know How to Warn You Any Harder. America is Dying. Umair Haque, Medium. “We survivors of authoritarianism have a terrible, terrible foreboding, because we are experiencing something we should never do: deja vu.”

Protests and Riots


Trump Is Visiting Kenosha on Tuesday. The Mayor Would Rather He Didn’t. Slate. On Kenosha, a thread:


Marred by trauma after George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis hit with second wave of looting. NBC

Minnesota Paramedic Speaks Out Against Police Use Of Ketamine Injections The Intercept (Furzy Mouse). Ketamine was one of the drugs used to sedate the Thai cave boys, while divers pulled them out of the complex through underwater tunnels. So, yikes.


Man fatally shot after pro-Trump caravan was Patriot Prayer ‘friend and supporter’ Aaron Danielson The Oregonian. The caravan, a thread:

One local’s view:

Wheeler Condemns Protest Shooting, Offers Few Solutions to Continuous Violence Portland Mercury

Governor Kate Brown Announces Unified Law Enforcement Plan to Protect Free Speech, Bring Violence to an End in Portland State of Oregon. Including more cops. Naturally.

Biden condemns violence in Portland and calls on Trump to do the same CNN

* * *

A ‘Scary’ Show Of Force: D.C. Police Ramp Up Aggressive Tactics After March On Washington DCist

‘Queer Eye’, Jordan Peterson and the battle for depressed men Open Democracy

Police State Watch

Officer charged in George Floyd’s death argues drug overdose killed him, not knee on neck ABC

Police PR machine under scrutiny for inaccurate reporting, alleged pro-cop bias LA Times

Failed State

The Lesson Americans Never Learn The Atlantic

Imperial Collapse Watch

Air Force’s ‘Skyborg’ Robotic Wingman Will Revolutionize How Air Warfare Is Waged—And How Weapons Are Bought Forbes

Pontifications: WA State frets about Boeing brain drain, but it’s already happening Leeham News and Analysis

Class Warfare

Agricultural Workers Lose Millions of Dollars Each Year to Employer Wage Theft In These Times

The New Face of Union-Busting The Baffler

Jackson Heights, Global Town Square (photo essay) NYT. Life’s little ironies….

Seeing like a city: how tech became urban Theory and Society. Dense but interesting; relevant to NC posts here, here, here, and here.

The Fever Wallace Shawn. From 1992, still germane.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Any Bostonians here who remember Robert J. Lurtsema? What a great way to start the day….

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on August 31, 2020 by .

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.

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