How Humans Benefit From a Highway of Trails Created by African Forest Elephants Smithsonian

Tech Companies Are Destroying Democracy and the Free Press Matt Stoller, NYT

Billionaire Robert Brockman charged in $2bn tax evasion case FT

Kill Your Gas Stove The Atlantic

We Tested OpenPilot, the $1,199 Device That Adds Entry-Level Autonomy to Your Car The Drive. Level 2.

Why I’m Glad I Left America The Atlantic (J-LS).


Act now, wait for perfect evidence later, says ‘high priestess’ of U.K. COVID-19 masking campaign Science. Reader will recall we flagged Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh’s work back in July.

Efficacy of face masks, neck gaiters and face shields for reducing the expulsion of simulated cough-generated aerosols medRxiv. From the Abstract: ” We used a cough aerosol simulator with a headform to propel small aerosol particles (0 to 7 μm) into different face coverings. An N95 respirator blocked 99% of the cough aerosol, a procedure mask blocked 59%, a 3-ply cloth face mask blocked 51%, and a polyester neck gaiter blocked 47% as a single layer and 60% when folded into a double layer. In contrast, the face shield blocked 2% of the cough aerosol. Our results suggest that face masks and neck gaiters are preferable to face shields as source control devices for cough aerosols.”

Synthesis and systematic review of reported neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infections Nature. A metastudy, n=176. From the Discussion: ” Our findings confirm that SARS-CoV-2 can infect neonates and that the majority of these infections occur postnatally, although vertical transmission may be possible in ~30% of cases…. [T]ransplacental transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is indeed possible and this is corroborated by a consistent background of laboratory findings…. The choice between rooming-in or mother-infant separation is an important one and the synthesis of available cases shows that the avoidance of separation might be associated with a higher risk of late-onset neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infections.”

Russia to Miss Covid-19 Vaccine Goal Amid Production Hurdles Bloomberg

Trump administration crackdown ‘couldn’t come at a worse time’ for hospitals HealthCare IT News. “Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that hospitals that were not in compliance with [Covid] reporting requirements from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could find their participation in the federal programs put at risk.” You can bet the hospitals aren’t having any problem at all coding for billing. It’s only when they have to start coding for health care that they start whinging.

When Covid-19 rules are flouted by ultra-Orthodox Jews, it isn’t anti-Semitism to call it out NBC

Sidelining Physicians Contributed to 200,000 U.S. Deaths MedPage Today. The article is useful, but “contributed to” is doing a lot of work. For example: “We should have learned about the benefit of masking in March, not July.” Wellie, Dr. Fauci is a phyician, correct? Fauci says he doesn’t regret telling Americans not to wear masks at the beginning of the pandemic. As The Week wrote: “The noble lie about masks and coronavirus should never have been told.” Can we please have some shreds of self-reflection?

New York coronavirus exodus fuels ‘gangbusters’ Maine real estate boom New York Post. Maine is not at all a romantic state, despite the scenery. Livin’ the dream may not pan out for all the out-of-staters moving in.

What has COVID-19 taught us about flattening the climate curve? World Economic Forum


Western Lockdown to Shut Down China Vineyard of the Saker

China’s Man In Washington The Intercept

Malaysian King urges politicians to show maturity in resolving political conflicts amid leadership uncertainty Straits Times

Thailand Seeks Travel Bubble Pact With China to Spur Tourism Caixin. And China earned it.


Britons alarmed by unpleasant border infrastructure they demanded Boing Boing (Re Silc).


Biden to end US support for Yemen war Middle East Monitor. Perhaps Biden will do better with Yemen than Obama did with Gitmo.

Mexico’s ex-defense minister detained in the U.S. at the request of DEA CNBC

Venezuela’s ‘Socialist Revolution’ Just Made a U-Turn Vice


Grenfell Tower landlord had ‘secret’ meeting on cost cutting, inquiry told Guardian (J-LS). Here’s hoping the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation has very deep pockets. NC coverage on Grenfell here, here, here, here, and here.

NHS Test and Trace: the journey so far The Health Foundation. From September, still germane.

Steve Keen – Spain’s Economic woes were a “Textbook” Example of the Perils of not just Textbook Economics, but the Euro as well Brave New Europe

NHS looks to the market for advice on one system to replace two separate, giant Oracle ERP and HR systems The Register

The Deutsche Bank whistleblower who gave up $8m is going broke FT

New Cold War

Russian-American Talks: No Arms Control Stability Valdai Discussion Club. Important. Russia hands will correct me, but I view Valdai as a cross between the Council on Foreign Relations and Davos. So the views expressed there are important.

Moscow signals it will make national security a priority in Arctic Council Barents Observer

Trump Transition

Trump Supreme Court pick heads toward Senate vote despite Democratic protests Reuters

Inside the Fall of the CDC Pro Publica. Very good; among other things, the first real explanation, nine months after the fact, of the CDC Covid testing debacle* (originally blamed on contractors, IIRC). My preference for coverage priorities would be: 1) Neoliberal hollowing out; 2) the testing debacle; and 3) political interference, because the first two corrode the clout of the CDC and lead to the third, and this article reverses that order, but it’s nevertheless very good. NOTE * Casting doubt on the ability of the PMC to regulate itself, exactly like the ObamaCare MarketPlace launch debacle. PMC professional associations also have this issue.


America’s split screen Axios

Trump refuses to disavow QAnon conspiracy theory FT

Six takeaways from Trump and Biden’s dueling town halls The Hill

Feds examining whether alleged Hunter Biden emails are linked to a foreign intel operation NBC. Sourcing: “Two people familiar with the matter.” The original post story was datelined October 14, 2020, 5:00am. This story is datelined Oct. 15, 2020, 8:42pm. It took one-and-a-half news cycles to redeploy the Russia card? Really?

Health Care

Here’s How We Prepare for the Next Pandemic IEEE Spectrum. From a Special Report, “The Next Pandemic.”

The Preemption Clause That Swallowed Health Care: How ERISA Litigation Threatens State Health Policy Efforts Health Affairs

Our Famously Free Press

Why Social Media Make Us More Polarized, and How to Fix It Scientific American

Twitter verified our medical expertise, but we are powerless to stop Covid-19 misinformation STAT

Police State Watch

Portland, Oakland sue Homeland Security, Justice Department alleging unconstitutional federal overreach The Oregonian

Imperial Collapse Watch

A National Security Reckoning Hillary Clinton, Foreign Affairs. “The COVID-19 crisis should be a big enough jolt to rouse the country from its sleep.” Yes, it was hard to sleep in the car, but I managed it.

America Has No Reason to Be So Powerful Stephen Wertheim, NYT

The Army Is Working on Augmented Reality Goggles for Military Dogs Defense One

Realignment and Legitimacy

All the elements are in place for American-style fascism, says Cornel West (interview) National Observer. Well worth a read.

Class Warfare

Exclusive: America’s true unemployment rate Felix Salmon, Axios

‘So Hard To Prove You Exist’: Flawed Fraud Protections Deny Unemployment To Millions NPR

Spending dropped, savings dwindled for U.S. unemployed after enhanced benefits expired: study Reuters

Enrollment at Community Colleges Usually Rises During Recessions. This Fall, It Plummeted Money (Re Silc).

English Faculty Vote to Change Name to ‘Department of Literatures in English’ Cornell Sun

What if a Pill Can Change Your Politics or Religious Beliefs? Scientific American

Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. Parts II, III, and IVa.

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