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Plastic pollution may have met its match: The saliva of wax worms NBC

Thiel, Bezos and Zuckerberg join parade of insiders selling tech stocks FT

Climate

Are we all doomed? How to cope with the daunting uncertainties of climate change Nature. Probably not (for some definition of “we all”). Nevertheless.

Global Choke Points May Link Sea Level and Human Settlement at the Last Glacial Maximum Geographical Review. From 2020, still germane.

Atlantic ocean heat threatens to unleash methane eruptions Arctic News

Top geology body denies appeal, rejects Anthropocene proposal Climate & Capitalism

#COVID19

Thousands of disabled people died after ‘Covid treatment withheld’, inquiry to probe iNews. Commentary:

Handy to have the jargon. I wonder if we have equivalent medical coding?

Neuroimaging findings in children with COVID-19 infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis Nature. N = 111. From the Abstract: “The pooled proportion of pediatric COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms and exhibiting abnormal neuroimaging findings was 43.74%.” I’m so old I remember when children didn’t get Covid at all!

Wearing masks is easy but taking them off is difficult – A situation in Japan during COVID-19 pandemic and after Dialogues in Health:

In May 2022 just before the 7th surge started, the government slightly relaxed the mask-wearing policy, and mask-wearing outside was not necessary as long as one is two meters apart from others. Unfortunately, this change was not well recognized by the public and as many as 58% answered they were not aware of the relaxed policy in a November 2022 survey . The television news, and newspapers at that time [i.e., official propaganda] were welcoming life without masks again, especially when the notoriously hot and humid summer season in Japan was approaching. The subsequent 7th surge, however, was the most severe surge since the pandemic was declared and Japan had the world’s worst record for 10 consecutive weeks during July and September 2022 according to the WHO report [11]. [My goodness me, why?]

And letting the cat out of the bag:

Other than the 7th surge, extreme mask affinity which could be referred [indeed it could, but by whom?} to as developed after 3 years of daily masking practice is also a contributing factor.

“Seatbelt dependence,” “water treatment dependence”, “manual safety dependence,” “traffic light dependence”….

Awaiting a decision on new research regulations, scientists pen dueling articles to shape ‘gain-of-function’ policies Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. At least for potential airborne pandemics, the best and least risky approach to “pandemic preparedness” would be cleaning shared air. But non-pharmaceutical interventions are ruled out.

China?

China ready to remove barriers for foreign companies, Premier Li Qiang tells international forum South China Morning Post

Constant capital for the win:

In One Key A.I. Metric, China Pulls Ahead of the U.S.: Talent NYT

Exploring China’s Water Usage Trends and Sustainability (press release) Chinese Academy of Sciences

‘Obstetric winter’: Why are China’s hospitals shutting delivery wards? Al Jazeera

Philippines accuses China of new water cannon attacks in South China Sea Al Jazeera

Syraqistan

Washington aims to complete Gaza pier to enable maritime aid by May 1, says official Times of Israel. Commentary:

US’ Blinken meets Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, holds talks with Israeli Security Cabinet and Israel seizes 8 square km of land in West Bank’s Jordan Valley region Anadolu Agency. Translation: “F___ y__, Tony.” And the horse you rode in on.

The threat to Netanyahu from Israel’s ultraorthodox army exemption FT

Undoing Oslo New Left Review

European Disunion

The lessons from Europe’s banking drama FT

Germany approves partial legalization of cannabis from April Deutsche Welle

Dear Old Blighty

Sick people leaving workforce at record highs BBC. But why? ‘Tis a mystery! And the same story–

Britain is suffering its longest sick note epidemic for 25 years as 2.7MILLION people claim they are too ill to work and holding back the country’s economic growth in the process Daily Mail. At least they mention Covid!

New Not-So-Cold War

“Crocus City Hall” attack in Moscow suburb and other important Russian news and Update on the ‘Crocus City Hall’ massacre Gilbert Doctorow

Putin says gunmen who raided Moscow concert hall tried to escape to Ukraine. Kyiv denies involvement AP

Arab countries condemn Moscow attack, declare solidarity with Russia Anadolu Agency

ISIS claims responsibility in deadly attack on Russia’s Crocus City Hall ABC

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq Guardian. From 2015, possibly germane; there are a lot of ISIS variants (although none, AFAIK, have ever attacked Israel, oddly).

* * *

Ukraine war: Kyiv hit by multiple explosions in Russian bombardment BBC

Ukraine rejects claims of Western pressure over attacks on Russian oil facilities Politico. “Nice little election you’ve got there, Joe.”

Russia says it is pushing Ukrainian forces back, will create two new armies Reuters

Ukraine’s European allies are either broke, small or irresolute The Economist

* * *

Russia is winning the global grain war Politico

Europe’s Biggest Salt Mine Is Now in Minecraft, and It’s Helping Ukraine Rebuild Wired

Institutionalizing BRICS: A Treacherous Path Infobrics

Global Election Year

‘Democracy Frozen’ Says Congress, Calls Action on Accounts Bid to Cripple it Financially The Wire

Supporters of Modi opponent Kejriwal protest his arrest ahead of Indian election France24

* * *

Judge rules Gaetz, Greene can sue after California cities cancel their rallies over their ‘political views’ The Hill

Biden Adminstration

Senate passes $1.2 trillion funding package in early morning vote, ending threat of partial shutdown AP. Commentary:

American Military-Civil Fusion at Risk With the Loss of the Shift Fellowship War on the Rocks

Spook Country

A survey of expert views on misinformation: Definitions, determinants, solutions, and future of the field (PDF) Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Appendix A: Demographics: “The sample of participants covers a large number of countries with a bias towards Western liberal democratic countries…. Experts leaned strongly toward the left of the political spectrum: very right-wing (0), fairly right-wing (0), slightly right-of-center (7), center (15), slightly left-of-center (43), fairly left-wing (62), very left-wing (21).” Whatever this crowd conceives of as “left wing.” I would guess that control of the means of production does not figure largely in their discourse.

Contest: Make Your Own “The Deep State is Actually Kind of Awesome” Video Matt Taibbi, Racket News. There’s a prize!

2024

Truth Social SPAC could pay Trump’s astronomical legal bills – if board OKs it TechCrunch

Antitrust

Ghost of Microsoft Stalks Apple as DOJ Takes Its Shot WSJ

Digital Watch

Instagram users fume as app begins limiting political content FOX. If I understand this correctly, Instagram is turning off the recommendation algorithm for “political” content (however defined). That’s what Meta should do for all content. It’s hardly “limitation,” let alone censorship.

God Chatbots Offer Spiritual Insights on Demand. What Could Go Wrong? Scientific American

Healthcare

The durability of vaccine-induced protection: an overview Expert Review of Vaccines. From the Abstract: “To sustain public trust in vaccines, lasting vaccines must be developed.”

Blood test could identify millions of people unknowingly spreading tuberculosis Sky News. Right, and who wants that?

Florida measles outbreak is a warning on how, and how not to, handle infectious disease Kavita Patel, Eric Feigl-Ding and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Miami Herald

Medicaid offices sue for dead people’s homes to cover health care costs without warning, critics say FOX. We can’t even fix this; NC first posted on Medicaid “estate recovery” in 2014.

Book Nook

Laurent de Brunhoff, ‘Babar’ heir and author, dies at age 98 AP. On Babar, from a time when The New Yorker still had good days, and Adam Gopnik hadn’t lost his mind.

Class Warfare

Secret RCMP report warns Canadians may revolt once they realize how broke they are National Post.

The town that can’t live without migrants, but isn’t sure it wants to live with them NBC

‘Organising is the best kind of antidepressant’: Astra Taylor and Leah Hunt-Hendrix on solidarity Guardian

Ancient switch to soft food gave us an overbite—and the ability to pronounce ‘f’s and ‘v’s Nature

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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