2:00PM Water Cooler 12/27/2022 | bare capitalism


By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Affected person readers, I’ve been gifted with a horrible head chilly that peaked on Xmas Day and is now slowly passing on, leaving in its wake a variety of sneezing and grumbling. (No, it’s not Covid. Actually.) So I’m feeling slightly uninspired. –lambert

Hen Tune of the Day

Home Bunting, Tata, Morocco. “On resort roof.” With crowing rooster! “Home bunting?” “No, I’m simply seeking to hire.”

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“However what’s authorities itself, however the biggest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“Right here’s meals for thought, had Ahab time to suppose; however Ahab by no means thinks; he solely feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“So most of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in truth a rational administration of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Capitol Seizure

“U.S. Home Jan. 6 committee investigated 4 Texas conservative figures, transcripts reveal” [Texas Tribune]. “The 4 Texans the panel interviewed had been Bianca Gracia, a pacesetter of Latinos for Trump; Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist; Stewart Rhodes, the militia chief not too long ago convicted of seditious conspiracy; and James P. Waldron, a retired Military colonel and data warfare specialist. Most of these interviewed refused to reply questions.” This, nevertheless, is the buried lead: “Rhodes’ testimony shed new gentle on the membership of the Oath Keepers: At its peak a couple of years in the past, Rhodes instructed the committee, the Oath Keepers had roughly 40,000 dues-paying members — roughly 20% of whom he stated labored in regulation enforcement.” • 20% is quite a bit. A lot LE, so many spooks, so many informers. However they had been all taken utterly unexpectedly!

“Jan. 6 report sidesteps federal intelligence failures earlier than lethal Capitol riot” [Yahoo News]. “Whereas detailing a number of warnings of violence collected by U.S. regulation enforcement and intelligence officers about protests deliberate for Jan. 6, the Home choose committee’s report largely avoids the problem of how federal businesses dealt with the knowledge or why they didn’t share the complete extent of the threats with U.S. Capitol Law enforcement officials tasked with defending Congress from the violent mob that stormed the Capitol constructing. The choose committee’s mission, as outlined in its authorizing decision, was partly to research “the preparedness and response of the US Capitol Police and different Federal, State, and native regulation enforcement businesses” to the occasions of Jan. 6, 2021.” • My goodness! One can solely surprise why…..

Biden Administration

Giving the reward of Covid:

(The problem just isn’t that Biden isn’t modeling masking conduct, however that Biden believes his conduct is appropriate and ought to be normalized. As does “Dr.” Biden, on the left.)

Democrats en Déshabillé

Affected person readers, evidently persons are really studying the back-dated put up! However I’ve not up to date it, and there are various updates. So I must try this. –lambert

I’ve moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Get together (“the Democrat Get together is a rotting corpse that may’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated put up, to which I’ll periodically add materials, summarizing the addition right here in a “reside” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It seems that defining the Democrat Get together is, in truth, a tough downside. I do suppose the paragraph that follows is on level all the best way again to 2016, if not earlier than:

The Democrat Get together is the political expression of the category energy of PMC, their base (lucidly defined by Thomas Frank in Hear, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Get together didn’t exist, the PMC must invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” in fact.) Second, all of the working components of the Get together reinforce one another. Go away apart characterizing the relationships between parts of the Get together (ka-ching, however not totally) these parts comprise a community — a Flex Internet? An iron octagon? — of funders, distributors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with property within the press and the intelligence group.

Observe, in fact, that the category energy of the PMC each expresses and is proscribed by different lessons; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial mannequin’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to thoughts. Suck up, kick down.

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“George Santos admits to mendacity about his resume in a collection of interviews” [City and State]. “Congress Member-Elect George Santos admitted to mendacity about key components of his resume in a collection of media interviews printed Monday night, however left a handful of vital questions unanswered, as his explanations conflicted with reviews over the previous week.” • Extra from the dogpile. I maintain no temporary for Santos, however he was elected truthful and sq.. The traditional knowledge. is that Democrats didn’t do their oppo correctly (see the Occasions right here). However maintain on. Can anyone consider one other political determine who was elected, and who the Democrats tried to depose with, effectively, post-election oppo? (Since that’s what the Steele file was.) I might speculate that Democrats need elimination of elected Republican officers for varied scandals normalized. And that’s why they sandbagged Santos with oppo after the election. (Oh, and Santos is homosexual. Absolutely a minimum of one NGO ought to be vociferously defending him?)

Our Famously Free Press

C’mon, Matty:


Lambert right here: I’m however a humble tapewatcher, however not like Eric Topol, I’m not calling a surge, as a result of the final peak was Biden’s Omicron debacle, and after an Everest like that, what’s left? Topol’s view is the institution view: Hospital-centric. Mine is infection-centric. I don’t see the acceleration or doubling in instances that I might count on to see primarily based on previous surges. There’s additionally the TripleDemic side, which I don’t know sufficient about.

I’m calling a “One thing Terrible.” It’s gonna be dangerous, in some new approach, and we don’t understand how, but. Wastewater has taken off in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, proper on time, two weeks after Thanksgiving. These are usually not solely in themselves giant cities, they’re all of the websites of worldwide airports (paying homage to the preliminary surge in spring 2020, which emanated, through air journey, from New York). Wastewater is a number one indicator for instances, which in flip lead hospitalization (and dying). As well as, positivity has begun to extend once more (Walgreens), and BQ.1* has taken over. Lastly, I’m listening to a ton of anecdotes (and please add yours in feedback).

Keep protected on the market! If you’re planning to journey on New 12 months’s, do contemplate your plans fastidiously.

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• I can’t maintain giving this dude Sociopath of the Day Awards; it might be unseemly. As a part of Wachter’s newest homework task, a 25-tweet protocol for “private danger evaluation,” we see the model he makes use of of the well-known “Swiss Cheese” diagram of layered safety:

(I like that “To make it simple to recollect” half.) Right here is James Motive’s model (from the NC archives). Motive is an “error administration” scholar, and the developer of the mannequin:

Discover any distinction? That’s proper. Like the nice libertarian sociopath he’s, Wachter has lowered the mannequin to “private obligations” solely, and erased “shared obligations” totally. This issues, even to the person, as a result of take a look at his air flow recommendation: “Assembly open air is most secure, enhance air flow indoors by opening home windows and utilizing moveable air cleaners.” As a result of Wachter erased institutional settings totally, he can’t advocate (for instance) C02 monitoring. Nor can he advocate Japan’s well-known 3C’s mannequin; “shared duty” just isn’t a part of his universe.

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• “The XBB.1.5 variant is on a development spurt in the US” [Eric Topol, Ground Truths]. “Now it seems that in New York State, XBB advanced additional to XBB.1.5, with new mutations, which was aptly first famous by JP Weiland a few weeks in the past, coincident with the start of a steep rise of hospitalizations there. The important thing mutation of XBB.1.5 is clearly F486P, which had been recognized many months in the past by the Bloom lab as one that will be tied to immunity escape and Ryan Hisner wrote about extensively in August. As you’ll be able to see from Daniel Focosi’s convergent variant map of the BA.2 descendants, XBB.1.5 is one to accumulate the F486P mutation….. If XBB.1.5 has such fast development benefit over BQ.1.1, that isn’t a superb signal. Final week, David Ho’s lab at Columbia College printed a paper in Cell entitled ‘Alarming antibody evasion properties of rising SARS-CoV-2 BQ and XBB subvariants.’”

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• Maskstravaganza: “Ought to Everybody Be Masking Once more?” [The Atlantic]. Oh, hell no. “David Dowdy, an epidemiologist on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being, is all for masking season, he instructed me, however he’d be extra hesitant to resort to mandates. ‘It’s onerous to impose mandates with out a very sturdy public-health rationale,’ he stated, particularly in our present, hyperpolarized local weather. And though that rationale clearly existed for a lot of the previous two crisis-ridden years, it’s much less clear now. ‘COVID is not this public-health emergency, however it’s nonetheless killing hundreds of individuals each week, tons of a day … so it turns into a tougher balancing act,’ Dowdy stated.” • The thoughts reels. What does Dowdy contemplate an “emergency”? And the PMC do love them their balancing acts. “Exhausting decisions.” “Delicate phases.”

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Right here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to group transmission (the “crimson map”). (That is the map CDC desires solely hospitals to have a look at, not you.) The map updates Monday-Friday by 8 pm:

NOTE: I shall most actually not be utilizing the CDC’s new “Group Stage” metric. As a result of CDC has mixed a number one indicator (instances) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning signal of a surge, and a poor method to assess private danger. As well as, Covid is a illness you don’t need to get. Even in case you are not hospitalized, you’ll be able to undergo from Lengthy Covid, vascular points, and neurological points. That the “inexperienced map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) remains to be up and being taken significantly verges on the legal.


From the Walgreen’s check positivity tracker, printed December 26:

-1.9%. Lower, however who will get examined on Christmas or Boxing Day? NOTE: In fact, it’s an open query how good a proxy Walgreen’s self-selected topics are for the overall inhabitants, particularly as a result of they didn’t go the home-testing route, however we go along with the information we have now.


Wastewater information (CDC), December 20:

An excessive amount of crimson (particularly with Ohio again on-line). JFK/LGA (Queens County, NY), ORD (Prepare dinner County, IL), SFO (San Francisco, CA), LAX (Los Angeles), and ATL (Cobb County, GA) are all crimson. See additionally this morning’s Hyperlinks for a map that reveals the airports with lengthy delays which can be additionally crimson dots.

December 19:

And MWRA information, December 21:

Lambert right here: Up in each North and South. Odd? Haven’t the scholars already left city?


Lambert right here: It’s past irritating how gradual the variant information is. Does no person within the public well being institution get a promotion for monitoring variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everyone will get the outcomes from them? [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk]. UPDATE Sure. See NC right here on Pango. Each Friday, a stately, educational tempo totally incompatible with defending your self in opposition to a variant exhibiting doubling conduct.

NOT UPDATED Variant information, nationwide (Walgreens), December 11:

Lambert right here: BQ.1* dominates, XBB arising quick on the skin. Unsure why this information is popping out earlier than CDC’s, since up to now they each acquired it from Pango on Fridays.

NOT UPDATED Variant information, nationwide (CDC), December 3 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* takes first place. Observe the looks of XBB. Right here is Area 2, the Northeast, the place each BQ.1* and XBB are stated to increased, and are:

• As a verify, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, up to date December 24:

Resuming the upward climb after a brief plateau.

• Hospitalization information for Queens, up to date December 20:

We’ll see what’s hospitalization is like about two weeks into January, after vacation journey has ended.


Demise fee (Our World in Knowledge):

Whole: 1,116,095 – 1,115,748 = 347 (347 * 365 = 126,655 deaths per yr, as we speak’s YouGenicist™ quantity for “dwelling with” Covid (fairly a bit increased than the minimizers would really like, although they will speak themselves into something. If the YouGenicist™ metric retains chugging alongside like this, I could need to determine that is what the powers-that-be contemplate “mission completed” for this explicit tranche of dying and illness).

It’s good that for deaths I’ve a easy, day by day chart that simply retains chugging alongside, not like the whole lot else CDC and the White Home are screwing up or letting go darkish, good job.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Federal Reserve Financial institution of Dallas’ normal enterprise exercise index for manufacturing in Texas fell to -18.8 in December of 2022 from -14.4 within the prior month, pointing to the eighth contraction within the exercise…. Capital expenditures sank sharply.”

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Transportation: “Hey guys, SWA pilot with slightly info” [r/SouthwestAirlines, Reddit]. “That is totally managements fault. Gary Kelly, and the brand new CEO, and company barons have utterly gutted the philosophy Herb believed in, which was investing in workers. They’ve identified for months that many crews had been stretched to absolutely the restrict. It was solely a matter of time earlier than one thing induced a cascading collection of failures that spiraled uncontrolled. The board and CEO knew this, and selected to as a substitute give themselves multi-million greenback bonuses and threaten to fireplace employees, together with dragging out contract negotiations with the unions within the hopes there will probably be a recession. That is company mismanagement to a degree I’ve by no means seen on this business throughout my 25 years.” And: “”I’ve associates in CS and the resort task aspect too. There have been 2 particular issues, the software program for scheduling is woefully antiquated by a minimum of 20 years. No app/web choices, all handbook entry and it has settings that you simply DO NOT CHANGE for concern of crashing it. These settings create the automated circulation as a crewmember is transferring about their day, it doesn’t know you flew the leg DAL-MCO it simply assumes it and strikes your piece ahead. Within the occasion of a disruption you name scheduling they usually manually alter you. It does work, it simply works for an airline 1/3 the scale of SWA. So the storm got here and it impacted floor ops so dangerous that many many crews had been now ‘unaccounted’ for and the system in place couldn’t sustain. Then it occurred for a number of extra days. By Xmas night the CS division had basically reached the lack to do something however easy, one off assignments.” • Commentary:

It’s like McKinsey offered all of them the identical three-ring binder.

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As we speak’s Concern & Greed Index: 39 Concern (earlier shut: 38 Concern) [CNN]. One week in the past: 37 (Concern). (0 is Excessive Concern; 100 is Excessive Greed). Final up to date Dec 27 at 1:19 PM EST.

Xmas Postgame Evaluation

I believe we’ve acquired a class error right here:

Although I do see the purpose.

Zeitgeist Watch

“On sincerity” [Joe Carlsmith].

My hope, on this essay, is to carry what I imply by sincerity into clearer view. However the time period has a reasonably wealthy set of associations for me, which I’m unsure will in the end admit of a cleanly unified evaluation. I begin by discussing 5 of those associations. Sincerity appears to me carefully associated to:

  • One thing like truth-seeking (“scout-mindset“), however for company as an entire slightly than simply beliefs
  • “Not enjoying fake”
  • One’s totally different motivations working in concord
  • “Seriousness”
  • (Much less confidently) Some stuff about non-ego/altruism/goodness

I then talk about whether or not we are able to unify these 5 associations beneath a single precept. I provide two potentialities for doing so. The primary is conceptual, and takes scout-mindset-but-for-agency because the core factor. The second is empirical, and takes “not enjoying fake” because the core factor. I’m unsure both is enough.

I additionally talk about a couple of of the numerous failure modes close by to sincerity: self-deception, extremism, over-confidence, “the-normal-rules-don’t-apply-to-me”-ness, sanctimony, over-concern with sincerity itself (each in others, and in your self), and that almost all simple and fearsome of failures: simply plain selecting the fallacious actions, even in the event you did the opposite stuff proper.

I take the view that for an artist — we’re not all artists — solely the work issues. “Sincerity” is totally irrelevant.

The Screening Room

“13 years in the past, ‘Avatar 2′ was inconceivable. Contained in the groundbreaking plan to drag it off” [Los Angeles Times]. The actors are literally underwater throughout their scenes (!). “‘That is not like something ever achieved earlier than,’ stated Kirk Krack, the skilled free diver and coach who skilled actors, stunt performers and crew for months main as much as the ‘Avatar’ shoot. ‘It’s the largest diving film of all time as a result of it’s shot moist for moist — this isn’t Aquaman hanging on a wire with a fan of their hair. This isn’t some [VFX artist] programming what they suppose swimming seems like. … There’s by no means been a film that has achieved what this underwater unit did to the extent we did it, to the realism of the truth we’ve achieved.’ An opportunity assembly on a shared flight years earlier had given Krack, a veteran free diver who labored on the 2009 documentary “The Cove,” the chance to introduce himself to Cameron. ‘I walked up and stated, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Krack remembered with a smile. ‘My title’s Kirk. I’m a free diver, and I’m going handy you my card and say, ‘How lengthy are you able to maintain your breath?’… ‘He tells me in regards to the challenge, the totally different movies, how [‘Avatar’] 2 is 60% water, 3 is 30%, 4 and 5 will probably be 15%,’ Krack stated. ‘How the brand new Na’vi of the ocean are known as Metkayina, they’re free divers, and the issues they’ll have with seize due to the bubbles. They’re considering of rebreathers as a substitute of scuba programs, and do I believe free diving might do it? I stated, ‘Completely. And right here’s how I might do it.’ …. However one in all Krack’s proudest moments was watching [SIgnourney] Weaver, who was 69 years previous when she started free diving coaching, outlast a stunt diver on breath maintain whereas performing a scene as her new Na’vi character Kiri, {the teenager} Jake and Neytiri have adopted into their household.” • That is fairly neat. Though the film might stil be a dud. Have any readers seen it?

Ebook Nook

“Did the Mom of Younger Grownup Literature Determine as a Man?” [New York Times]. • By Betteridge’s Regulation, no.

Our Famously Free Press

“No person cares about your weblog!” [Medieval Manuscripts Provenance]. • A captivating story of educational theft, and a salutary reminder that old-school blogs nonetheless exist.

Class Warfare

“The Bother with Experience: Why You Ought to Normally Belief Consultants (However It’s Sophisticated)” [Philospher’s Magazine]. Fascinating:

The true hassle with specialists just isn’t with experience itself, however how specialists behave. Consultants don’t at all times use their experience in methods which can be useful to non-experts.

· Typically they’ve a battle of curiosity or a political motivation.

· Consultants typically converse exterior their area – a phenomenon known as “epistemic trespassing.”

· They might attempt to inform you issues that aren’t “tell-able,” as when a really profitable individual tries to provide step-by-step recommendation on the way to navigate all of the obstacles they dealt with intuitively.

· Consultants might provide recommendation that doesn’t meet your wants.

Along with these issues, some points get tousled with political or spiritual views that make it troublesome to know when an knowledgeable is basically appearing like an knowledgeable (and making an attempt that will help you) or when specialists are talking from their private political allegiances. That is particularly regarding when the problem is time-sensitive, as within the case of pandemic ailments like COVID-19.

Additional nonetheless, typically entire fields of experience give the fallacious reply in a horrible approach. Contemplate the sector of medication. Medical researchers have exploited folks of color, obstetricians have ignored medical choices from ladies in labour, pharmaceutical companies have conspired to extend habit, and trans sufferers are routinely stigmatised or refused care. There are many causes to be sceptical about specialists. Nevertheless it’s vital to notice that these causes don’t have anything to do with experience. The difficulty comes due to the ability specialists need to put folks in compromising positions and to make use of their positions in ways in which hurt others.

What’s the future for specialists?

It ought to be clear that we are able to’t reside with out trusting specialists. The world is much too difficult. You’re counting on hundreds of specialists proper now simply to have the ability to entry the phrases you’re studying on-line. However the extra we be taught in regards to the human aspect of experience, the extra causes we have now to be cautious.

A step towards bettering knowledgeable reliability is so as to add checks on knowledgeable judgment. Somewhat than having a single doctor make medical choices, as of late drugs is usually a team-based affair. Nurses, social employees, ethicists, and others are concerned to verify essential elements of the affected person’s life, social scenario, preferences, and values aren’t neglected. Equally, for government-funded analysis, Institutional Overview Boards (IRBs) consider research for moral issues about how individuals are knowledgeable and handled.

Extra checks and balances could be a good suggestion. Maybe specialists ought to do pair programming. Paired by sortion?

Calling all Turing Take a look at experts:

Information of the Wired

“How do snowflakes kind? Get the science behind snow” [NOAA]. “Q: So, why are not any two snowflakes precisely alike? A: Effectively, that’s as a result of particular person snowflakes all observe barely totally different paths from the sky to the bottom —and thus encounter barely totally different atmospheric situations alongside the best way. Subsequently, all of them are inclined to look distinctive, resembling the whole lot from prisms and needles to the acquainted lacy sample.” • Neat!

I’m unsure that is such a good suggestion:

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Contact info for crops: Readers, be happy to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) learn the way to ship me a verify in case you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to learn the way to ship me photographs of crops. Greens are fantastic! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary crops! If you would like your deal with to seem as a credit score, please place it at first of your mail in parentheses: (thus). In any other case, I’ll anonymize through the use of your initials. See the earlier Water Cooler (with plant) right here. From ReSilc:

ReSilc writes: “Glad holidays from approach off the grid!”

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