2:00PM Water Cooler 12/26/2022 | bare capitalism


By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Chicken Track of the Day

Snow Partridge, West Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh, India.

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Readers, I hope your Christmas Eve and Day have been every part you anticipated, and what you anticipated was good (and what you hoped for). The week between Christmas and New 12 months’s tends to be sluggish, and so my Water Cooler protection this week might be somewhat erratic, maybe confined to a single matter. (Tomorrow, nevertheless, I’ll do an entire publish, simply to stop the pandemic(s) from getting away from me.)

In the present day’s matter is “proxies,” which aren’t the identical as a voting proxies, besides tangentially. My first step was naturally to test my OED, but it surely contained nothing to the aim:

(Though the ecclesiastical utilization is fascinating; one wonders whether or not the Scholastics, say, had a theology of procuration.) The extra fashion-forward American Heritage Dictionary does, highlighted:

(That is comparable in construction to a market proxy.) I might refine the AHD’s definition as follows:

An entity or variable used to mannequin or generate knowledge assumed to resemble the info related to one other entity or variable that’s sometimes harder to analysis, .

One apparent instance of “unavailable or corrupt” knowledge is Covid case counts for america. (Since wastewater knowledge leads case knowledge, it’s an OK proxy, even when the CDC’s nationwide protection is spotty. CDC does, no less than, have county degree knowledge for many main airports, so no less than I can spotlight potential hazard spots for readers who journey.) Here’s a splendid instance from The Economist of a proxy for precise, gen-u-wine, scientific case knowledge, the kind of knowledge public well being institution worthy of the title can be anticipated to gather, if solely to assist its “prospects” with their private danger assessments, however by no means thoughts that:

As readers know, lack of odor is one symptom of Covid. So it is sensible that Amazon critiques of “Yankee Candles” complaining that “this candle has no odor” can be proxy for Covid circumstances. And so it proved, within the examine cited by the Economist. Now, I’m however a humble tapewatcher, however in case you suppose we now have proxy right here, it follows that we are within the midst of a surge, and it’s a foul one, on a par with Biden’s Omicron jouissance; I’ve drawn a gray “Fauci” line to indicate this[1]. Additional, earlier than I finished operating case knowledge, I certified it by saying that the actual figures have been a lot, a lot greater; I used an element of six. If “no odor” is an efficient proxy, it seems like I used to be within the ballpark. Lastly, we now have seen a “divergence between scientific case curves and wastewater curves” beginning in Q1 2022; right here we see the same divergence however for case curves and “odor” curves. Since this divergence is more likely to be policy-driven, I’ve drawn a Democrat-blue line to indicate this.) Now, I’m not utterly certain I settle for the “no odor” proxy for Covid — is it confounded by flu, or RSV? — but it surely actually underlines the message to “keep secure on the market.”

[1] If that’s the case, I used to be too conservative. On December 16, I reasonably than name a surge, I wrote:

I’m calling a “One thing Terrible.” It’s gonna be dangerous, in some new means, and we don’t understand how, but.

After all, we might some “One thing Terrible and a surge on the similar time! Christmas knowledge will inform us a lot.

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Here’s a second proxy, devised by GM, which I feel wins a brilliancy prize. China has set about making its case knowledge as corrupt as our personal. What to do? Previous proxies of circumstances have included backed up crematoria and crowded hospital parking heaps (these might be decided from aerial pictures). However that is nice:

I’ve discovered that within the full absence of knowledge, a dependable proxy for what is occurring is Wikipedia’s record of individuals with Wiki pages who died lately:


E.g. when Iran was having its first coated up outbreak in early 2020 it was very notable what number of generals and politicians out of the blue have been dying on the similar time.

There really aren’t all that many Wiki pages for Chinese language individuals regardless of the massive inhabitants (Western bias and so forth), so normally it’s 0 or 1 a day on that record. However here’s what it seems like for the month of December:

Date/Quantity deaths on the web page

25 4
24 1
23 5
22 3
21 2
20 2
19 1
18 1
17 1
16 1
15 2
14 0
13 0
12 0
11 0
10 0
9 0
8 0
7 0
6 1
5 0
4 0
3 0
2 0
1 1

(they’re nonetheless partial now).


Readers, are you able to recommend some good proxies? Not essentially for Covid, however utilizing one thing from the fabric, “actual” world as a proxy or test on official knowledge for, say, inflation or unemployment. Or manufacturing. Or heating gas costs. Or, I suppose, metrics of any variety. Take pleasure in!

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Contact data for crops: Readers, be at liberty to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) learn how to ship me a test in case you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to learn how to ship me photos of crops. Greens are high quality! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary crops! If you would like your deal with to look as a credit score, please place it initially of your mail in parentheses: (thus). In any other case, I’ll anonymize by utilizing your initials. See the earlier Water Cooler (with plant) right here. From JB:

JB writes: “My experiment with changing my pool to a 20k gallon aquarium, continues. The vegetation is now blooming, and never simply the lily pads as I’ve shared up to now. What’s extra, the Koi are rising fats and sassy. Everyone informed me this wouldn’t work. Me? I’m considering empirical outcomes rule, or as Yogi Berra unforgettably mentioned: ‘In idea there is no such thing as a distinction between idea and follow – in follow there may be.’” Phrases to ponder!

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