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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Robin (migratorius Group), Miguel Hidalgo, Ciudad de México, Mexico.

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) More Boeing shenanigans, as Barnett’s assassination is gradually memory-holed.

(2)

Politics

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

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2024

Less than a year to go!

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Trump (R): “Why no one will lend to Trump” [Edward Luce, Financial Times]. “For Donald Trump, it would not be seven times a charm. His first six bankruptcies all took place before he went into politics. Most of these occurred in two phases: in the early 1990s after he had over-extended on a clutch of Atlantic City casinos, then on various properties before and after the 2008 crash. America’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection got him out of trouble. Since then, Trump has largely made money by licensing his brand name. But there is no easy way out from the $454mn that he owes in damages to the New York legal system. Unlike banks, the law does not take haircuts. There is nothing to stop Trump from being broke and winning the White House. He already had that history of bankruptcy when he won in 2016. But his financial woes create two novel headaches — one for him, and one for America. For Trump, it undermines his reputation for being rich, which he and his base value highly. Revisions to his net worth cut it from the $10bn he claimed in 2016 to $2.6bn on Forbes’ latest estimate. But these are educated guesses. As a private company, the Trump Organization does not disclose its liabilities. Even if that number proves correct, most of his wealth is locked up in illiquid assets, chiefly real estate such as his landmark towers in New York and the golf clubs. The prospect of bailiffs seizing all the bling they could find from Mar-a-Lago would give schadenfreude to millions. It would also deal a blow to Trump’s idea of himself. He was raised on the prosperity gospel that says your wealth is a measure of your moral worth. To the Maga base, Trump’s wealth is also a yardstick of his cunning. Trump is estimated to have inherited the equivalent today of $413mn from his father, Fred Trump. A quarter of a century after Trump Sr’s death, his son seems unable to cover roughly that amount. Some of Trump’s supporters are puzzled that he has not yet been bailed out by one of his wealthy donors. The answer is that he has a history of not paying what he owes. From the world’s biggest banks to America’s smallest contractors, Trump is expert at stiffing creditors. That is not to mention the class-action winners of those who paid exorbitant fees to study at Trump University, the dissolution of the Trump family’s charitable foundation for a ‘shocking pattern of illegality’, and the fact that roughly $50mn in Trump 2024 campaign funds has gone to pay his legal bills. Trump’s donors prefer his policies to those of Joe Biden, who has vowed a billionaire tax in his second term. In their personal dealings, however, they seem to validate the former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s view that with Trump he knows ‘a con when I see one.’ All of which makes Trump more of a liability to America. As every spy agency knows, the most at-risk employees are those who are heavily in debt. Presidential candidates are offered intelligence briefings during the election. Trump is facing a much-postponed trial for allegedly secreting troves of highly classified material at Mar-a-Lago. It does not take great deductive skill to see that Trump’s financial quandary poses a national security risk. If insurance companies and friendly billionaires think he is too big a credit risk, who might help him out instead? What sort of collateral could Trump offer in return? Even by America’s recent standards, this creates a new kind of headache.” • NC commenter DCBlogger told me, long ago, pre-2016, that the one thing that could take Trump down would be proof that he was not rich. And now it seems that Trump faces something akin to a capital strike, in addition to already facing a professional services strike. As for Luce’s psychological reading of the American electorate, I’m not so sure. (“Prosperity gospel” is preached by a particularly noxious American Protestant sect; Trump’s childhood minister was Norman Vincent Peale, also noxious but not a member of that sect.) “Trump was rich until crooked Democrats stole all his money” is one form of cope that might help, particularly for the aggrieved who feel that what they value has been taken by Democrats as well. “So what, if Trump is the one to most damage the system” is another.” We’ll see. 2024 is certainly not without interest or drama!

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Biden (D): “Biden’s lawfare joke” [Washington Examiner]. “No criminal trial has begun, but the swarm of Democratic legal actions has already cost Trump dearly. Of course, that was the idea, or at least part of the idea. And it’s something that Biden himself indirectly acknowledged in a recent speech. It happened in Washington at the Gridiron Dinner, a fancy white-tie gathering of major media figures and the top politicians they cover. Biden delivered a speech that was part comedy routine and part inspirational talk to his media base. And this is a joke Biden told, according to news accounts: ‘Our big plan to cancel student debt doesn’t apply to everyone. Just yesterday, a defeated-looking man came up to me and said, ‘I’m being crushed by debt. I’m completely wiped out.’ And I said, ‘Sorry, Donald, I can’t help you.” Ha ha ha. The media audience, of course, laughed. With one joke, Biden acknowledged the work his party’s lawfare warriors have done in the Trump matter. And how could Biden not be grateful? He’s trailing Trump in the polls, is facing an electorate that largely believes he is too old for a second term, and is underwater in approval ratings for his handling of most issues. No doubt Biden’s joke about bankrupting Trump reflects his satisfaction that the lawfare effort is starting to work. But Biden wants more. In February, Politico reported that Biden has ‘grumbled to aides and advisers that had [Attorney General Merrick] Garland moved sooner in his investigation into former President Donald Trump’s election interference, a trial may already be underway or even have concluded.’”

Biden (D): “Biden Has Massive Campaign Cash Lead Over Trump as General Election Begins” [Wall Street Journal]. “Trump has retained a slight advantage in polls in battleground states, where thin margins will likely decide who wins the presidency in November. Money also doesn’t necessarily equal guaranteed victory; Hillary Clinton bested Trump in the 2016 money race but still lost the White House. And Trump’s fundraising is likely to pick up now that he has replaced the leadership at the RNC and formed a joint-fundraising committee. Nonetheless, Biden’s fundraising advantage lays bare the risks that Trump has going into spring and summer, when he will accept his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention. His financial health might also reflect the segment of Republicans who say they will refuse to vote for Trump even if he were the nominee, according to surveys of GOP primary voters by AP VoteCast. While the Biden team reported adding $25 million to its total cash holdings in February, Trump’s cash—across the campaign account, the RNC and two PACs—increased by $9.2 million.” • Handy chart:

Biden (D): “Biden SHOULD be angry and anxious — his re-election prospects stink” [Rich Lowry, New York Post]. “[A] loss to Trump would instantly vaporize what was to be Biden’s most important legacy — stopping Trump and supposedly saving American democracy. On his terms, Biden can’t afford to go one-for-two in this endeavor. History isn’t usually kind to one-term presidents. A defeat would be particularly bad for Biden. It would expose his decision to run again for president at age 81, when he’s visibly in decline, as a historic blunder resulting from selfishness and an utter lack of realism. It’d become undeniable that his pick of Kamala Harris, which helped keep Democrats from pushing for him to step aside, was a terrible mistake, and Democrats would be willing to say so. In short, given the personal and political stakes for Biden and how daunting the landscape looks at the moment, Biden would be well-advised to be angry and anxious — very angry and anxious.” • I still maintain that given the incredibly weak Democrat bench, Biden was the best choice (and from the purely party perspective, a brokered convention would be an excellent outcome for grandees and apparatchiks, because their power (some of them, at least) would be enhanced, whether or not their candidate won. In some ways, that was the lesson of Clinton’s losing campaign in 2016; certainly key elements of the Clinton apparatus — press, spooks, party apparatchiks, newly class-conscious PMC — emerged from the debacle with powers enhanced, not diminished).

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Kennedy (I): “Who’s afraid of RFK?” [The Hill]. “[Kennedy is] polling at a steady 15 percent average nationally, and even better in some very important states. He’s performing particularly strong with key demographics like Black and Latino voters, as well as young voters — even beating both Biden and Trump in some polls in that category. ‘It seems clear that in any of these battleground states where the margins are going to be thin, the more candidates in the race, the worse for Biden,’ Tom Bevan, founder of RealClearPolitics, told me. ‘A point or two in the big six battleground states could make the difference, depending on where they make the ballot.’ (Trump edges Biden in the RCP average in a two-way race, but he performs even better when RFK is included.) ‘Making the ballot’ is a key element to this. Right now, , and getting close in another 15 or so. But that’s not going to make the seismic impact he wants, or needs. So pay attention to what happens over the next two months. ‘Part of the reason he’s choosing a running mate now is that some states don’t allow a presidential candidate on the ballot without a running mate,’ Chris Stirewalt, host of ‘The Hill Sunday,’ told me. ‘With the Libertarian nomination, he would have the chance to focus on campaigning. Without it, he will be necessarily focused on ballot access more than anything else.’” • Not a bad think, if in fact RFK organizes a mass signature-gathering effort (run by his own organization not outsourced to petition gatherers), a la “Clean for Gene” in 1968.

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Democrats en Déshabillé

“Why Democrats Are Losing Their Grip on Latino Voters” [Wall Street Journal]. “So long as Democrats were viewed as the party of the working class, they could bank on winning large Hispanic majorities. The problem Joe Biden and his party face this year is growing numbers of Hispanics and other nonwhite working-class voters view Democrats as out of touch. White voters without a college degree have been quitting the Democratic Party in earnest since the Obama presidency. Democrats didn’t expect to see Hispanics follow, but that’s what has happened. To the surprise of most political observers, the trend accelerated thanks to Donald Trump. Democrats carried the Hispanic vote by 38 points in 2016. By 2020 that margin had shrunk to 21 points, and among Hispanic men it was down to 17 points. ‘In 2020, Democrats assumed that they would easily win the Hispanic vote against a president with a history of vitriolic statements against Mexico and Mexican Americans and hostility toward illegal immigration,’ Mr. Judis and Mr. Teixeira write. Instead, Mr. Trump performed significantly better among Latinos than he had four years earlier. Few predict that the GOP will win a majority of the Latino vote this November, but these inroads have smart Democrats terrified.” • Of course, the Democrats could always do something like pass a 32-hour work week; but at best, they’ll manage not to pass it, due to a “revolving villain” (Manchin; Sinema); the filibuster; the Senate Parliamentarian; and, in all cases, those darn Republicans! But vote for us, because we’re “fighting for”!

Realignment and Legitimacy

#COVID19

“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

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Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Vaccines

“An intranasal combination vaccine induces systemic and mucosal immunity against COVID-19 and influenza” [Nature]. Since CDC threw Covid and the flu into the same bucket, the vaccine industry responded, which I’m fine with if it works. Mouse study. From the Abstract: “Despite prolonged surveillance and interventions, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza viruses continue to pose a severe global health burden. Thus, we developed a chimpanzee adenovirus-based combination vaccine, AdC68-HATRBD, with dual specificity against SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus. When used as a standalone vaccine, intranasal immunization with AdC68-HATRBD induced comprehensive and potent immune responses consisting of immunoglobin (Ig) G, mucosal IgA, neutralizing antibodies, and memory T cells, which protected the mice from BA.5.2 and pandemic H1N1 infections. When used as a heterologous booster, AdC68-HATRBD markedly improved the protective immune response of the licensed SARS-CoV-2 or influenza vaccine. Therefore, whether administered intranasally as a standalone or booster vaccine, this combination vaccine is a valuable strategy to enhance the overall vaccine efficacy by inducing robust systemic and mucosal immune responses, thereby conferring dual lines of immunological defenses for these two viruses.”

Infection

No, Covid is not “over.” Biobot’s year-on-year chart:

(This is an alternative to the Biobot chart I use, “Total Results,” which I prefer because it gives the history of the pandemic at a glance. The data is the same.)

“Mild” symptoms:

Policy

“We Had the Tools” [The Guiness Pig Diaries]. From 2023, still germane, and worth reading in full. The character names (“like General Manager Tim”) are from a brilliant extended metaphor of a hardware store: “[A] government or health officials [will say we have the tools to deal with Covid-19. No we don’t. We had the tools. All we have now are the memories of those tools. We (and by we, I mean collectively, societally we) blew it. We threw the tools away. We traded them in for something we believed was so much better. Why? Because the very leaders we are supposed to trust to look out for our best interests, like General Manager Tim, told us to. They gave us permission. They told us it was more important to get back to normal than to rely on those tools. So many who heard that message took it and ran with it. Like Liz, they twisted it into something much more extreme to fit their own agendas. Not only are masks not required in public anymore, they’re now banned in some places because they remind people that Covid is still a threat, and that’s bad for the economy. Wearing one has become so stigmatized it can get you harassed or assaulted. And then there’s remote work. Not only is it discouraged, it is shamed. There are message campaigns circulating throughout the media about how remote work is bad for productivity, bad for teamwork, bad for the health of remote workers. Speaking of messaging, we don’t have ANY consistent, trustworthy messaging to inform our decisions about Covid anymore. We have ‘you do you.’ Which is essentially the ‘customer is always right’ mantra in the world of Covid. Believe whatever the fuck you want, do whatever the fuck you want, and regardless of the consequences for yourself or others, no one can hold you accountable. No one can tell you that you’re wrong. This is now a DIY pandemic. Good luck. When we discovered that there were consequences to sh*tting all over our tools and throwing them away, we wanted them back, like Josh. Covid patients who ended up fighting for their lives in the hospital would beg for the vaccine that they had loudly and proudly refused before they got sick. People who thought vaccines were all they needed to stay well refused to continue masking. Then they found themselves ill with Covid and begged for treatments like monoclonal antibodies, which stopped working a long time ago as variants evolved to escape them. We played dumb when reminded that experts had cautioned us this would happen. We insisted we did everything right. We pretended to be victims when we knew better. We can’t get a lot of those tools back now. It’s too late.”

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

LEGEND

1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”

NOTES

[1] (Biobot) Our curve has now flattened out at the level of previous Trump peaks. Not a great victory. Note also the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Midwest ticks up.

[3] (CDC Variants) As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

[4] (ER) “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”.

[7] (Walgreens) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Now up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

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Manufacturing: “Barnett – First Amended Complaint 5-4-21_Redacted” [Scribd]. A random selection: “[The late Boeing whistleblower John] Barnett continually insisted on the proper procedures being followed. Barnett complained about . In most cases, the mechanic would come to work to find that the parts s/he installed the day before were gone. Upper Management ignored the stolen parts problem and insisted that Barnett stop documenting them in e-mails and on CA’s (corrective action EPDs). All corrective action EPD’s for stolen parts were cancelled per Leadership direction without any investigation or corrective action. (Ethics hast he records).” • Uploaded by Live 5 News, and not the prize-winning local paper, the Post and Courier, which hasn’t run one single story on Barnett’s assassination death since the original story on March 13. No doubt their crack staff is waiting on the police report, but when the local paper maintains complete radio silence, that makes me worry the fix is in at the police department. I mean, couldn’t they at least have run a human interest story on Barnett’s family?

Manufacturing: “Alaska Airlines blowout passenger reveals terrifying moment his socks and shoes were ripped off and his body was ‘lifted up in the howling wind’ as he sues airline and Boeing along with seven others” [Daily Mail]. • Commentary:

Manufacturing: “Boeing Confirms Disappointing Update on 737 Max Engine Issue” [MSN]. “In the latest chapter of Boeing’s ongoing saga, the aerospace giant faces a significant setback with its 737 Max series. An engine issue will sideline the fleet for up to a year, further delaying the certification of the eagerly awaited 737 Max 7s and Max 10s models…. [A] glitch in the 737 Max’s anti-ice system, which poses a risk of overheating and damaging the engine. Despite the potential severity of the issue, the airplane manufacturing giant assures that it has never occurred in flight. However, the theoretical risk of components breaking off mid-air has prompted a swift and serious response…. The company’s previous estimates had set the repair timeframe at nine to twelve months. This repair work is not just a matter of replacing parts but involves a deeper understanding of the engine’s air intake dynamics and its broader implications on aircraft performance and safety…. The ramifications of the engine issue extend beyond technical repairs. Certification delays for the 737 Max 7s and Max 10s impact Boeing’s timeline and affect major airlines’ operational plans. For instance, Southwest Airlines, with its all-737 fleet, has had to revise its 2024 capacity projections and earnings forecasts in light of these delays.” • This is the issue where pilots had to remind themselves to turn off the anti-ice system in time with a sticky note on their instrument panel.

Manufacturing: “Boeing in ‘last chance saloon’, warns Emirates head” [Financial Times]. We already linked to this, but to reinforce: “[Emirates Airline President] Sir Tim Clark told the Financial Times he had seen a “progressive decline” in Boeing’s standards, which he put down to long-running management and governance mis-steps, including prioritising financial performance over engineering excellence….. Clark said Boeing’s previous management had made repeated mis-steps, including outsourcing parts of its manufacturing and moving parts of its 787 production to South Carolina to cut costs following battles with unions at its primary base north of Seattle, Washington. Boeing eventually moved all of its 787 production to South Carolina in 2021 but the site has struggled with manufacturing challenges. Clark said Boeing had lost ‘skills and competencies’ through the move.” • When the Emirates President says it’s union-busting….

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s big green disaster” [Heated]. “The 737-Max was not the plane Boeing originally intended to make. In 2011, the company announced it was planning to develop an entirely new plane to replace its aging and fuel-guzzling 737 fleet. This new, more fuel-efficient plane would cost billions of dollars and take nearly a decade to make. But Boeing’s then-CEO said it would be worth it. ‘It’s our judgment that our customers will wait for us,’ he said. Shortly after that announcement, however, Boeing’s CEO was proven wrong. The company’s exclusive customer, American Airlines, announced it was defecting to Boeing’s rival plane manufacturer, Airbus. And Airbus was not making new planes–it was putting new, more fuel-efficient engines on old planes. So in order to compete, Boeing quickly scrapped its plan. Instead, it too decided to put new engines on old planes. The 737 Max was born. From a sustainability perspective, Boeing’s change in direction was disappointing, said [Dan Rutherford, an aviation and sustainability expert with the International Council on Clean Transportation]. While the more fuel-efficient aircraft engines were better for the planet than the older ones, a new plane, he said, would have delivered far more benefits. ‘If you look at the technologies that can be used to improve the fuel efficiency and reduce emissions for aircraft, it’s basically three big buckets,; he said. Manufacturers could have made the airframe lighter by using lightweight materials, improved the aerodynamics of the plane to reduce drag, and added more advanced engines. That ‘clean-sheet design’, as it’s known by the industry, would have used less fuel and produced less emissions. A new plane would also have been safer, both in design and because pilots would have been required to train on the new aircraft. But a new design would have cost Boeing and the airlines far more money. So while the strategy may have been good for short-term profit, ultimately, ‘Boeing’s strategy was bad for the environment and for consumers,’ Rutherford said…. And once accidents and tragedies began to plague the 737 Max—in large part because the new engines compromised the aerodynamics of the plane [for which the disastrous MCAS system was a kludge]—the company’s sustainability marketing soared further.” • Because of course it did.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 Greed (previous close: 74 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 22 at 12:56:25 PM ET.

Holier than Thou

“Christian group is ‘luring’ students with free pizza at lunch, Clovis parents say” [Fresno Bee]. “Three parents with children attending Reyburn Intermediate and Clovis East High schools said their children were offered free pizza to go to the lecture hall in groups of three to five during their lunch period. Upon arrival, parents said a representative from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meets with students. After praying and hearing about Christianity, parents said students then receive their free pizza in yellow boxes. “I feel that they’re doing wrong,” one parent with a student at Clovis East told The Fresno Bee. “They’re basically luring in kids that are under 18, that are still trying to find themselves and are still trying to explore.” The parents who spoke to The Bee asked to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation against them or their children. They also said they were not notified via email, text, permission slip or asked for their consent for the FCA to approach their children.”

Healthcare

“Intermittent fasting linked to 91% increase in risk of death from heart disease, study says” [Fortune (Furzy Mouse)]. “The safety of intermittent fasting, a popular strategy to lose weight by limiting food intake to certain times, was called into question by a surprise finding from research presented at a medical meeting. Limiting mealtimes to a period of just eight hours a day was linked to a 91% increase in risk of death from heart disease in the study, which was released on Monday in Chicago. The American Heart Association published only an abstract, leaving scientists speculating about details of the study protocol. The study was reviewed by other experts prior to its release, according to the AHA. Lifestyle interventions aimed at weight loss have come under scrutiny as a new generation of drugs help people shed pounds. Some doctors questioned the study’s findings, saying they could have been skewed by differences — such as underlying heart health — between the fasting patients and the comparison group, whose members consumed food over a daily period of 12 to 16 hours.” • I originally misread the headline to imply decrease, not increase, so I’m really running this in case that happens to anybody else. That said: Thumbs down on a story driven from a conference abstract. And thumbs up on the dreaded lifestyle change, as opposed to Big Pharma’s latest. At least in my experience, eating less — especially fewer sweets — really does cause weight loss, hence increased agility, general feeling of fitness. Readers may differ in their views. Endless are the arguments of dieticians!

Guillotine Watch

“Millionaire biohacker Bryan Johnson (who already has a cult-like following) plans to start his own NATION for anti-agers… where pizza, donuts and alcohol could be illegal” [Daily Mail]. • Can anybody get a passport? Could this be Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong?

Class Warfare

I don’t know what’s gotten into Stoller, but I’m here for it:

(“Evil” is strong language — and used correctly in this case.) NOTE Yeah, yeah, China. We’re none of us perfect.

News of the Wired

Derek Guy on men’s clothing is one of my guilty pleasures on the Twitter:


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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi, lichen, and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From TH:

TH writes: “I’m not positive, but I believe this is a camelia. It, like so many of my recent submissions, lives at the Sherman Library and Gardens (Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, California).”

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