Links 1/15/2022

Cats’ weekslong Vitamix standoff is entertaining thousands of people on Facebook NPR (furzy)

Greyfriars Bobby and the dogs immortalised in statues BBC (Bob H). Nice pix!

A colony of 60 million fish has been discovered in Antarctica CNN (furzy)

Attempt to feed manatees fails so far, but effort to hold off starvation will continue PhysOrg (Robert M)

Ohio siblings accused of chopping down a 250-year-old tree for a small profit Washington Post (J-LS)

Elephants dying from eating plastic waste in Sri Lankan dump PhysOrg (Robert M)

Ships from 1,581 ports may go to Antarctica, bringing unwanted guests ars technica (resilc)

Tonga tsunami warning as volcano erupts at sea Guardian (furzy)

Video Friday: Guitar Bot IEEE Spectrum (David L)

Rwandan genocide chemically modified the DNA of victims and victims’ offspring ScienceBlog (Robert M)

#COVID-19

Here’s the difference between N95 and KN95 masks, and how to spot a fake Seattle Times (furzy)

Novak Djokovic: Tennis star detained ahead of deportation appeal BBC. I cannot fathom why this is the lead story at BBC, but that is why I am including it.

Science/Medicine

Gene That Increases Risk of Dying From Covid Now Identified NDTV

Fact check: The theory that SARS-CoV-2 is becoming milder NPR (David L).

“There’s this story that we’re going to have variants that are progressively less severe,” says Dr. Roby Bhattacharyya, who’s an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

But that’s completely untrue, Bhattacharyya says. “It’s comforting to think there might be some tendency for SARS-CoV-2 to evolve toward a milder form. That’s not what we’re seeing here.”

COVID-Hospitalization Numbers Are as Bad as They Look Atlantic (resilc). Subhead: “Many supposedly ‘incidental’ infections aren’t really incidental, and cannot be dismissed.”

COVID-19 patients show more signs of brain damage than people with Alzheimer’s disease Study Finds (resilc)

Vaccines Could Be Helping In India’s Third Wave, But Data Gaps Plague Research India Spend (J-LS)

Asia

Omicron Cases Confirmed in Shanghai, Guangdong Province Bloomberg

Hong Kong extends Covid-19 curbs, flight ban through Lunar New Year South China Morning Post

China suspends 26 more air routes, 4 from US, over Covid-19 infections South China Morning Post (resilc)

UK

Downing Street ‘held wine-time Fridays EVERY week’ throughout pandemic as Partygate scandal deepens Daily Mail (J-LS)

US

US government moves to end daily COVID-19 death reporting by hospitals WSWS

Americans Can Order Free Rapid Covid-19 Tests from Website on Jan. 19 Wall Street Journal. Just as this Omicron surge is staring to wane, at least according to Mass. wastewater and some other indicators. Expect the site to crash and/or be available only with difficulty the first day. The question is how well it performs under sort of normal conditions. The Obamacare website launch does not bode well for rushed site development.

Harris sends Americans struggling to get Covid test to Google RT. Kevin W: “Cringy Video.”

Biden officials divided on message over N95 masks for all NBC (resilc)

Letter of Support for Anthony Fauci Ezekiel Emanuel (Kevin C). When you need letters like that….

Boston Public Schools: Children Bundle Up for Class due to Open-Window Mandate National Review (J-LS)

North Carolina surpasses single-day record for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations Eagle Tribune

Finance/Economy

U.S. Retail Sales Slide Most in 10 Months on Inflation, Omicron Bloomberg

U.S. grocery shortages deepen as pandemic dries supplies Yahoo. Resilc: “A two front war in the Ukraine and Taiwan should fix all this.”

Hospitals Near ‘Breaking Point’ Amid Covid-19-Related Staff Shortages Wall Street Journal

COP26/Climate Change

Fave Little State: Climate Migrants From Around America Are Seeking Refuge in Vermont Seven Days (resilc)

China?

When I read headlines like this, I want to claw my eyeballs out: What Should the Left Do About China? Nation (PlutoniumKun). As in “Where are the left’s divisions?” Since when has the left had any power, particularly with respect to foreign policy, much the less shown any appetite for using it? Having said that, the discussions about the splits is interesting, but the presumption that the opinion of “the left” even if there were one, matters, is bizarre.

“Encircling” China Is a Very Bad Idea Jacobin (J-LS)

India

India’s Forest Cover Has Increased Once Again, Finds Report The Wire (J-LS)

New Cold War

U.S. intel suggests Russia is preparing a ‘false-flag’ operation as pretext for Ukraine invasion NBC (furzy). Help me. Russia does not want Ukraine. It wants NATO not in Ukraine. And Russia has said its next move would be a surgical strike, one hazards to guess against targets like NATO missile launchers it deems too close to Russian borders. The only time you so obviously mass troops for an invasion is against a weak target like Iraq. In WWII, the Allies went to some lengths to feed the Germans bad intel that the invasion was to be led by Patton, at another beachhead.

More screechy headlines: Ukraine cyber attack ‘part of Russian playbook’, says top US diplomat Financial Times

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview on Channel One’s “The Great Game” political talk show, Moscow, January 13, 2022 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (guurst)

Russian roulette: as croupier at this particular casino table, I invite you to place your bets Gilbert Doctorow (guurst)

1/6

One year after the Capitol riot, experts warn more political extremism and violence could be on the horizon in 2022 Business Insider. Kevin W: “Pearl clutching.”

Trump

‘Kingmaker’ Trump heads to rural Arizona, where GOP candidates are eager for his backing Roll Call (J-LS). Hard to square this with the terrible turnout at his recent rallies. Trump looks to be running on brand fumes plus the media pumping him as a traffic builder.

GOP Clown Car

Herschel Walker Makes Tommy Tuberville Look Like a Statesman Esquire (resilc)

Anti-abortion group linked to Amy Coney Barrett has been accused of ‘harassment and intimidation’ Alternet (furzy)

Democrats en déshabillé

Bill and Hillary peek their heads out Politico

L’affarire Jeffry Epstein

Queen ‘saddened’ by decision to force Prince Andrew out of the Royal Family Daily Mail (J-LS)

Man Spends Three Days Trying To Remove Oil Filter, Lives Every Wrencher’s Nightmare Jalopnik (Dr. Kevin)

How one of South America’s biggest dams became a Bitcoin battleground Rest of the World (Paul R)

Capital Flight The Daily Upside (resilc)

Opinion: Why interest rates aren’t really the right tool to control inflation Marketwatch (furzy). Even conventional finance types have gotten the memo.

Guillotine Watch

We don’t know why, but being in space causes us to destroy our blood ars technica. Here due to space fantasies of squillionaires.

As things fall apart, the super-rich spend $2m on whisky. We need a wealth tax Guardian (resilc)

Class Warfare

Security officers say Smithsonian staff shortages threaten safety of priceless treasures, and people Washington Post (J-LS)

Antidote du jour. Timotheus: “Ibexes from my friend in the Jerusalem Desert.”

And a bonus (Bob H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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