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Submarine coming through!

I'm in a holding pattern on the blog just now because I'm frantically busy with end-of-year work: publisher production departments like to clear their desks before the office shuts down for a fortnight, and they expect to come back to a full in-tray on January 4th, and of course authors don't have families or friends to socialize with, so why not share the joy of a tight deadline copy edit check with your loved ones this festive season?

That's not actually what I'm working on right now, but I am actually working way more than usual, and as a result I hope to have good news to share with you early in the new year.

As for the blog?

I ought to blog about either an update on my COVID19 forecast, or an update on my Brexit forecast, but those are basically boring and disgusting and demoralizing and would take precious brain cells away from bringing you the next book, so naaah. If you feel like updating me with your predictions for 2021 in the comments below, though, go right ahead.

Finally, I have one thought to leave you with. Apparently the Washington Post ran a write-in competition for the best summary of 2020, and the winner (a nine year old from the mid-west) came up with this totally accurate description: "2020 was like taking care to look both ways before you cross the road, and then being hit by a submarine."

Happy solstice!

1817 Comments

1:

"OK, boomer" is what you say after being hit by a submarine.

2:

Gotta feel sorry for that kid. Nine years old and he'll probably never do better than that.

3:

I cannot tell you how screwed we all are, here in Brexitland, without resorting to the phrase:

"We are so screwed, that surgeons were unable to recover the corkscrew"

That's us, here; and on the other side of the Atlantic, Covid-19 is within reach of every adult in the United States.

4:

Yeah
Apart from the year I woke up in hospital, eventually lost more blood than I started with, & altered my behaviour to destroy my first marriage ...
2020 has been the long slow burning pits - is there any hope that 2021 will be any better?
NO IDEA
I'm still hoping for some sort of Brexshit "deal" - but I'm not holding my breath.
Even worse, will DJT & his paid minions try something really, terminally stupid between now & 20th Jan 2021?

5:

will DJT & his paid minions try something really, terminally stupid between now & 20th Jan 2021?

Why would they change what they've been doing for four years? Of course they'll keep doing stupid things.

For your amusement, MacLean's (a Canadian news magazine) asked, "Where Might Donald Trump Run to Avoid Prison?". People have been considering that for a while but it's striking to see the question openly asked in the media.

6:

As one of the few posters that is gloomier than you are, I shall spare people my predictions - except that I expect Trump will continue to make the news, mainly as a defendent in civil suits and possibly a plaintiff in bankruptcy proceedings.

Ray Bradbury was once a 9 year old from the midwest.

8:

Re: 'MacLean's (a Canadian news magazine) asked, "Where Might Donald Trump Run to Avoid Prison?".'

Since his neighbors in Mar-A-Lago have already announced to the media that they've taken steps to stop DT making M-A-L his permanent home, my guess is: any English-speaking place where he can golf with other entitled twats, so Scotland is a possibility.

Or he could get on a boat and never come within 100 miles of any country that has an extradition treaty with the USA. As long has he could golf off the deck of the boat and catch his fave Faux news, he'd be fine. He could probably even hire a retired McDonald's short order cook to make his favorite meal [BigMac, TM].

Or, he could buy an island somewhere and declare it a sovereign state. NZ has a few small isles for sale at not bad prices (i.e., less than for same in the Caribbean).

9:

Why would they change what they've been doing for four years? Of course they'll keep doing stupid things.

Well, Greg Tingey asked about terminally stupid things. They are not there yet.

10:

SFR
so Scotland is a possibility.
Just WHAT are you smoking?

11:

...so Scotland is a possibility

If the Scots don't like you, you'll hear about it. [citation needed]

Living in Scotland would not sooth his vast and fragile ego. (Video interviews from Samantha Bee and Vice, as examples...) Besides, Scotland has an extradition treaty with the US.

TL/DR: Maclean's gives the obvious choices of Russia and Saudi Arabia but adds the UAR, on the grounds that Dubai is flashy, built on other people's money, and under the gilding a wasteland - so, totally on brand for The Donald.

12:

Well, Greg Tingey asked about terminally stupid things. They are not there yet.

Over 300,000 Americans might disagree with that.

OK, roughly half of them were probably Republicans and so died of a hoax not a virus, but that still leaves over 100,000 fatalities who might have chosen not to die to stroke someone's ego…

13:

That's a lot snarkier than MacLeans usually gets about right-wing politicians and businesspeople :-/

14:

To abuse the late Sir Pterry's legacy, it appears from where I sit that Brexit is so screwed up that it can slide sideways through a bent corkscrew without touching metal.

As for the US...pray for January 5th to be a double-win for democrats in the Georgia senate race. That will put McConnell out of power. Or better than prayer, donate and all that good stuff.

My prediction for January is that VP Renfield votes Biden in (in his role as head of the senate) then flees for Europe. Failing to get asylum in Poland, IQ.45 fires him, then tries to issue a self-pardon in his last days in office. Since that's illegal under common law going back to the time of kings, and since there's no provision for replacing a VP in the normal course of things, he leaves office without being pardoned for anything he did. Yes, I'll bet this is wrong in whole and in detail, but it's fun to contemplate such things.

15:

Aside from the tiny core of Kenneyites, Canadians in general have adjudged Trump tacky. Trump is loathed, even among Canadian mammonites. MacLeans has noticed.

16:

Scott Sanford @ 5: For your amusement, MacLean's (a Canadian news magazine) asked, "Where Might Donald Trump Run to Avoid Prison?".

That was an amusing article, yes. But I don't think much of their conclusion that he'll end up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

For one thing, his wife and daughter would never want to go there. For another, the United Arab Emirates still "forcibly disappear" expats as well as their own citizens. And then, they torture them.

This is an amusing article in Wikipedia, if you think of Trump while reading it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_United_Arab_Emirates

So, I'm still betting on Zurich, in Switzerland, as the most likely place for him to flee.

17:

There are some grounds to believe that the mRNA vaccines are NOT sterilizing vaccines (which prevent infection or transmission), but functional vaccines, which prevent severe symptoms.

There's definite grounds to believe that functional vaccines increase the virculence of disease.

It takes (thereabouts of) sixty days for the mRNA vaccines to take full effect. We are already seeing what could be described as lamentable anti-infection practices; it is hard to imagine that vaccine rollout won't make those worse, and have those become worse prematurely in a context of vaccine effectiveness. (Even if the vaccine rollout manages to avoid being inappropriately sequenced on grounds other than risk everywhere.)

So I figure we'll be experiencing one of those "oops" moments in the vicinity of July of 2021.

(I will be getting the vaccine just the instant it's available to me. Absolutely the most risk-reducing single thing you can do for yourself. It's just not a systemically sufficient thing to be doing, and a lot of people seem to be rather lost on that point.)

18:

OK, roughly half of them were probably Republicans and so died of a hoax not a virus, but that still leaves over 100,000 fatalities who might have chosen not to die to stroke someone's ego…
I have not seen a breakdown.
FWIW, about 75 percent of US elected officials who are publicly known to have contracted a SARS-CoV-2 infection are Republicans.
That's a 3-1 ratio.

19:

But I don't think much of their conclusion that he'll end up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

You raise valid objections. You may also have thought this through better than Donald.

His wife and daughter certainly would not want to visit him in the UAR. But then, would they want to visit him anywhere else? Melania might be happy to return to New York while Donald flies off to another hemisphere.

As for the human rights problems... Donald is not a human for these purposes. Humans are, you know, those loud monkeys that run around yelling things and poking their smartphones. Donald is a wandering bundle of money that emits bullshit and bribes; Dubai will happily ignore the first and pocket the second. Only if the money runs out does he become a human again, at which point he's probably most profitable deported to whatever law enforcement group is willing to pay for him. The Wiki article says "expats involved in insulting Islam are liable for deportation," so there'd be plenty of excuses when they were finished vacuuming out his wallet.

I suspect he wouldn't go there to live, though he might frequently visit. He's already got business interests in Saudi Arabia so moving there is an easy sell for public perception. If he runs for Russia then the legend makes him Putin's puppet forever.

20:

So I figure we'll be experiencing one of those "oops" moments in the vicinity of July of 2021.
I'm dreading this.
Even if the vaccine is effectively sterilizing, mask and distancing discipline will suffer as people get sloppy, but before there is herd immunity, e.g. vaccinated people will start not wearing masks. And a market in false proof of vaccination documents will emerge and need to be stomped on.

Any grounds based on the clinical trials (or experiences earlier mRNA vaccines) to believe that the Pfizer and Moderna (and etc?) vaccines are not sterilizing but just protective?

21:

I predict that the US Space Force will unveil the new name for America's vaunted space warriors. And it will be...Guardians. This will, in turn, lead to mockery throughout the Interwebs and a million voices catcalling "I am Groot!" before falling suddenly. In disgust.

Oh wait, this already happened: https://www.theverge.com/2020/12/18/22189637/space-force-military-branch-official-name-guardians

And in other Space Farce Space Force news, the USSF commander said that the new service operates like a startup, although he left it unclear when they'll be seeking their next round of venture capital. Fortunately, his mantra is "Big is slow," so obviously the USSF is planning on being the perky underdogs in the US defense behemoth for the rest of their existence.

(/Facepalm)

22:

That is a surprisingly wise nine year old.

23:

Both trials (for the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines) used symptoms, rather than testing for infection, when evaluating the vaccine candidates. (This is likely because the test capacity to run forty thousand people through frequent testing could not be made available.) So we don't know that either mRNA vaccine is sterilising because this wasn't tested in the trials.

The expectation from the animal models and other indications is that upper respiratory tract sterilizing immunity won't be produced; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31976-0/fulltext

(Lots of the surrounding disease characterization hasn't happened yet; it's only existed for about a year. It makes evaluating the vaccines more difficult because it increases the scope of doubt.)

The "non-sterilizing" expectation fits in with the way immunity builds over time with the vaccines, the way coronaviruses in general work, and the way the case-curve goes in the vaccinated arm of the vaccine trials; all suggestive that it's not a sterilizing vaccine.

So it's a really good idea to vaccinate people but it's NOT like smallpox where vaccination alone can extirpate the disease.

24:

Bill Arnold @ 20 : "Any grounds based on the clinical trials (or experiences earlier mRNA vaccines) to believe that the Pfizer and Moderna (and etc?) vaccines are not sterilizing but just protective?"

There are no earlier mRNA vaccines for humans. This is the first one.

25:

Graydon @ 23: "The expectation from the animal models and other indications is that upper respiratory tract sterilizing immunity won't be produced;"

Why not use intranasal vaccination then? See figure 2:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2798-3

26:

2020 was like taking care to look both ways before you cross the road, and then being hit by a submarine

When you put this in Google, this web site is the 2nd hit.

27:

midwest

Interesting how others view others.

While I guess Michigan is the midwest from a geography point of view, this Kentucky born boy thinks of it as the north or rust belt.

To me the midwest is centered where I was born and raised. Far western Kentucky where all the rivers merge. Well a lot of them merge.

28:

Dunno!

My suspicion is that the goal for the mRNA vaccines was to get them in use as soon as possible; they are (kinda perversely, given how novel they are) extremely low risk and pretty much any reduction in mortality and morbidity risk, especially for medical personnel, is worth doing.

(As it stands, some fraction of the people part of the medical infrastructure in the US and UK has been expended, and it's going to be extremely difficult to recover from that.)

So trial design would have had a nothing weird rule; we are not going to do anything that makes our results hard to interpret. Follow-on studies can consider alternative deliveries and other enhancements. Especially since anything that increases the dosage requirements is bad in 2021; it might be a splendid tradeoff between dose size and effectiveness in 2022 when the manufacturing has caught up. ("In the first year, nothing" is 2020; "in the second year, a trickle" is 2021; "all you want" is 2022. Hopefully modern techniques, blank cheques, and co-operation can improve that some.)

(If you want to put your cynical late-capitalism hat on, the mRNA vaccines MUST get to market first because the first sterilizing vaccine will remove them from the market. And the money side of Moderna and Pfizer certainly don't know there won't be one.)

29:

his fave Faux news

Boy are you behind on current events. He has been pissed at FN since election night. Now it's One America News and News Max. They aren't so much news sites and sites that tell people what they want to hear. Especially people who match what advertisers want to reach.

Think of them as comic books or the National Enquirer and it's cousins that inhabit the racks at grocery checkout lines in the US.

The biggest problem is the the people watching them think of them as "truth tellers" countering the fake news of other sources. Including Faux News.

30:

Over 300,000 Americans might disagree with that.

I see your point. I interpreted the word "terminally" along the lines of global thermonuclear war.

31:

My suspicion is that the goal for the mRNA vaccines was to get them in use as soon as possible; they are (kinda perversely, given how novel they are) extremely low risk and pretty much any reduction in mortality and morbidity risk, especially for medical personnel, is worth doing.

I think there's one bit missing from this consideration. The characteristics that make them low risk also made them really fast, because safety trials that they'd normally have to worry about (like the safety of the engineered virus carrying the spike protein) are irrelevant. I agree that they may not be optimal, but they were always expected to be the first salvo, assuming the technology worked at all. The real question going forward is what's going to be the best vaccine, and that's probably years from being settled.

The other part no one wants to deal with is that it's quite possible that Covid19 doesn't get eradicated, but rather becomes endemic in humans, with low-ish numbers of infections due to happenstance and regular updating of vaccines required to rein it in. That's not going to look like business as usual, 2019-style. That's going to be something else again.

32:

Here's a thing some of you may consider funny:

In Unicode, U+2020 is † (DAGGER). U+2021 is ‡ (DOUBLE DAGGER). And U+2022 is BULLET.

33:

But then 2024 is ONE DOT LEADER which can't be auspicious about any election.

34:

The other part no one wants to deal with is that it's quite possible that Covid19 doesn't get eradicated, but rather becomes endemic in humans

I'm not seeing how that can be avoided.

Aside from the animal reservoir risk -- cats, dogs, mustelids all known to be able to catch SARS-CoV-2; mustelids known to be able to transmit it back to humans -- extirpation would require getting the antivax situation resolved. With so many anglosphere politicians refusing to even consider making vaccination mandatory, that's not seeming likely.

Hard to see how the secondary effects -- widespread evictions in winter, poverty -- aren't going to be more lethal than the disease in the short term, too.

The Uncommon Cold is getting way too much like an historical plague for my peace of mind. It's getting out the scope of what can be scienced.

35:

Niala
Schweitz has an Extradition Treaty with the USA ....

Graydon
Using the on-line calculator/lookup table - I hope to be vaccinated by the end of January.

Heteromeles @ 31
Agree - I disagreed with EC about this, about 2 months back, but further considerations ( Like more evidence ) suggest that you & he are correct.

36:

Greg Tingey @ 35 : "Schweitz has an Extradition Treaty with the USA ..."

Yes, but as I have pointed out before the presence of a treaty does not automatically mean that a requested person is surrendered to the asking state.

To give the example of the United States and Canada, in a ten year period the United States requested 798 persons and Canada surrendered 552 persons.

https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/emla-eej/stat.html

37:

I imagine most countries that have abolished capital punishment do something similar, but certainly Australia will not extradite someone facing the death penalty. When it turned out a few years ago that the Australian Federal Police would often merrily co-operate with their counterparts in jurisdictions that did have capital punishment and arrange things so that suspects were arrested *there*, it was a huge deal and there's now a whole new layer of oversight that is supposed to stop it happening again (whether or not that works is another matter). And of course Australia seems to have no problem deporting people to places from which they were refugees, in many cases who very possibly face extrajudicial murder upon their return.

We do have a loud, persistent and at times disruptive ongoing community of protest over our treatment of refugees. But unless it is something like blocking a bridge, the majority of the population is largely unaware. See also Murdoch media monopoly.

38:

"My prediction for January is that VP Renfield votes Biden in (in his role as head of the senate) then flees for Europe. Failing to get asylum in Poland, IQ.45 fires him, then tries to issue a self-pardon in his last days in office. "

Trump can't fire Pence; he's the VP.

39:

Yeah. The sign in north London saying "Cambridge and the North" still summarises the main UK delusion (*) - OGH has posted on this. But I was following the US Census Bureau, though I agree about the "rust belt" (including from some of his writings).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwestern_United_States#Definitions

(*) That the north begins at Potter's Bar.

40:

Any grounds based on the clinical trials (or experiences earlier mRNA vaccines) to believe that the Pfizer and Moderna (and etc?) vaccines are not sterilizing but just protective?

Discussion of that here:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/once-you-get-the-covid-19-vaccine-can-you-still-infect-others/

Short answer: No. Insufficient data. Could be either.

41:

Trump can't fire Pence; he's the VP.

True. But he could freeze Pence out pretty thoroughly.

42:

Aside from the tiny core of Kenneyites, Canadians in general have adjudged Trump tacky. Trump is loathed, even among Canadian mammonites. MacLeans has noticed.

According to a recent poll (which I read in the Star but didn't bookmark) nearly 50% of Albertans support Trump over Biden.

And there was that springtime poll (in MacLeans) that had 48% of Conservatives preferring Trump to Trudeau as a Canadian leader (as opposed to 36% that preferred Trudeau).

43:

So I figure we'll be experiencing one of those "oops" moments in the vicinity of July of 2021.

I read somewhere (maybe the Star) that a University of Toronto epidemiologist was predicting a third wave when the vaccines began rolling out, but before a significant chunk of the population was immunized. His model included lockdown fatigue and misunderstanding how long after vaccination it takes to acquire immunity. (Apparently most people think that as soon as you get the shot you're protected from a disease, not understanding how vaccines work, so that was an easy factor to model.)

I can't locate the report now (I read it in October).

I'm assuming next summer is also a write-off for travel and catching up with people.

44:

Alberta, however, is Texas North: big hats, pickup trucks, and oil. It also has just 4.4 million of 38 million Canadians. Once the oil shale goes away (already happening) you can safely ignore them.

45:

I have not seen a breakdown.

Neither have I. I was just assuming that America seems roughly evenly split between Republican and Democrat (to a first approximation).

46:

Lessee... travel (in Ontario) in the summer of 2021?

It takes ~60 days for the mRNA vaccines to build to full immunity; you have to maintain infection control measures until then even when vaccinated.

Infection control measures are significantly rate-limiting for vaccine administration (been through this with the flu shot this year!) AND you have to come back, on time, for your second shot. After, by meany reports, your first shot took you out for a couple of days with flu-like symptoms.

Phase 3 -- general availab ility -- happens ... sometime. Reading between the lines, April or May if and only if there are no political issues, production bottlenecks, or logistics issues.

The mRNA COVID vaccines are not known to be sterilizing; for planning purposes, that means they're not, so they reduce your risk of a severe case (and thus dying) if you catch it. (That's what the trials tested. That's the one thing we know.) By inference/hope, these vaccines MAY reduce your risk of stroking out, etc. after you've been infected and recovered. (Huge area of insufficient knowledge there.) By prudence, they DO NOT reduce your risk of either catching COVID-19 nor of spreading the disease. (At least until we've got the data to do the big study to answer the "sterilizing or functional?" question.)

If the vaccines ARE sterilizing, we won't know until... this time next year? at the earliest? there needs to be a large population vaccinated and it needs to be studied. (Same with "does this reduce my post-COVID stroke risk?" dunno, try not to be in the dead column when the study gets done...)

So... Phase 3 starts in May, finishes... by July? Add sixty days; eye the vaccination rate figures with suspicion; be very unsure if the vaccine is sterilizing or not. If you're sensible, maintain full infection control measures until the studies have achieved a consensus, which almost can't be before 2022 sometime.

Note 1: Pfizer vaccine is rolling out to regional hospitals in Ontario only; explicitly can't move again once it's there. Building out the cold chain is a trick, because testing with a critical vaccine in short supply is an ethical quagmire, on the one hand, and takes novel hardware, which is a logistical challenge during lockdown, on the other.

Note 2: the will behind the Ontario rollout is Christine Elliot (the health minister), rather than Dougie (the premier), and our politics is not presently able to handle long term anything. Dougie is actively not making good decisions in "minimize the damage" terms, and will probably continue to do so. Especially as "the vaccine is available" turns into "and I can't get it" reporting.

47:

Would the swab+PCR test detect the virus in a functionally-vaccinated but still infectious person?

48:

Dougie is actively not making good decisions

That about sums it up. PCs are still making decisions based on business interests. (Look at the '413' highway due to start construction next year, for example.)

49:

Lessee... travel (in Ontario) in the summer of 2021?

Well, that, but I was hoping to head West to see my family. Can't really contemplate that until we're all vaccinated, as I can't see a way to self-isolate while getting there.

What I really want to do is the post-retirement trips I planned to Europe, as well as return to Iceland.

50:

It certainly ought to do so!

But, specifically in Ontario, testing capacity has not been built out (see above re Dougie actively making bad decisions) so a hypothetical capability doesn't help.

51:

What I really want to do is the post-retirement trips I planned to Europe

Yep. Sitting on 2+ weeks of certificates for nights at main line hotels mid to upper tiers. I wonder how many more times they will extend the expiration dates.

Plus about $15K in airlines miles and hotel points.

I'd like to use them while I can still walk without a cane.

52:

Brexit

Impossible to say - Boris is simply to unpredictable given his aversion to making difficult decisions, particularly where someone will be upset at him.

Trump and trying to stay as President

Over and done with, he may continue with his ineffective legal games and fund raising but he is out of office on January 20th. He thought he had bought and paid for the Supreme Court with his appointments, they told him to go away. But he no longer has any way to try and overturn the results now that the Electoral College has ruled - the one remaining sort-of option to challenge the election (Congress) looks unlikely now that Mitch has conceded, and I doubt Pence will do anything stupid (hence the talk of him going on a trip immediately afterword). Besides, while I can't be bothered researching it any challenge in Congress I have heard leads to Pelosi becoming President.

Melania & son

Depends on the pre-nup and any other legal agreements. My perception is she wasn't happy with Donald becoming President and forcing her to become First Lady - she married to become a NYC wife of a rich person, and he violated that. So as soon as she can she will become the next in line of ex-Trump wives.

Where Trump lives.

Depends on the deal/lack of deal. Despite those who want blood (rightly so) the reality is putting rich people on trial is usually more about publicly shaming them given the difficulties in getting convictions - and for Trump that is already done and half the public just don't care.

Thus I think the establishment in both parties would be quite happy to ignore any legal pursuits on the condition that he drops out of view (no more Twitter, etc.) and leaves the US. If that were to happen then somewhere like Switzerland could be an option. But I don't think Trump could agree to such a thing, but that in turn seriously limits his options.

As noted extradition doesn't mean it would happen - but the world (well, at least the nice places to live) hates Trump in a way the US public doesn't, and he has spent his time in office insulting most other world leaders (example, see his time at any of the G* meetings). So the question isn't whether a country has an extradition treaty (because they would use it), but whether they would allow him to stay in the first place. No government wants Trump living in their jurisdiction using Twitter and his PAC's as weapons, drawing the anger of the US government.

So that rules out most places for him - and I still say Putin wouldn't allow him in either (there is no upside). So perhaps some places in the middle east.

Covid

Come April/May, when the better weather returns to the northern hemisphere, all bets will be off.

After 9 months the strain in showing - people publicly and to pollsters still support the lockdowns/isolation, but the spread shows that as always actions speak louder than words. Whether it be forced into poor working conditions or an unwillingness to accept that they aren't special, people are still spreading Covid because they aren't distancing, wearing proper masks, and isolating as necessary.

After a "ruined" Christmas and New Years Eve, and another 3 months of this, regardless of how far the vaccine has rolled out and how effective/ineffective it may be people will say enough is enough and get on with their pre-Covid life.

So come Easter most families will again celebrate together, and with the nicer weather they will again flock to the beaches and parks - and politicians will happily cave in regardless of what any experts say because the hospitality industry will be screaming at them, and the people watching the government budget will warn they can borrow no further (even though false).

53:

Maybe the young man from the Midwest didn't read the signage near him. There was a bar in Chicago whose decor included a sign warning of a SUBMARINE CROSSING.

(They got it when the U-505 was moved into the Museum of Science and Industry.)

54:

"Neither have I. I was just assuming that America seems roughly evenly split between Republican and Democrat (to a first approximation)."

The US carries out massive voter suppression and gerrymandering; if it weren't for that, the US would be mostly blue.

55:

Re: ' ... mRNA COVID vaccines are not known to be sterilizing;'

Agree - that's what the virologists I've been watching are also saying. Plus, not enough data yet which is why some medicos/scientists are saying that the blinded trials need to continue beyond the vaccine roll-out. What they've not said - but what I think might happen: medical authorities will keep a very close eye on the first folks to receive the vaccine and compare results vs their unvaccinated counterparts on all key metrics.

Note: One potential downside to vaccines that only 'reduce disease' is that vaccinated people might get infected and not know it therefore spread the virus, i.e., increase in asymptomatic transmission. Bottom line: we have to be careful for the foreseeable future.

Hmm ... just saw a headline that BoJo mentioned there's a new COVID-19 variant circulating in the UK that's more contagious than the current one. (According to the TWiV virologists this shouldn't impact the 'effectiveness' of the present already approved vaccines - the current vaccines target more than part/area of the virus.)

I hope that with vaccines available, researchers (and gov'ts) start looking at the long-term health effects of this virus. No solid data yet but some anecdata suggest 5-10% of all people infected will suffer some fairly serious long term/chronic effects. Plus, these effects will vary across people in terms of organs affected.

Re: DT - Scotland

Well, he's got a golf course there already. Besides, although technically the Scots speak English, he's unlikely to understand what they're actually saying. Ditto, the two-finger 'salute'. Add to that they might sell him exclusive US rights to 'haggis burgers'. It's a win-win-win scenario.

56:

keep a very close eye on the first folks to receive the vaccine and compare results vs their unvaccinated counterparts on all key metric

Yes, that would make sense. Do PCR at both vaccinations and then follow-up PCR for the next months or whatever intervals might be recommended by epidemiologists. Might have to incentivize that last part by appeals to civic duty or even money.

57:

On Trump becoming an overseas fugitive from US justice, I note that US passports are revocable by the Secretary of State. (I suspect the POTUS can also do it unilaterally.)

Of course, residency and/or citizenship is purchasable in various places, so loss of US passport probably wouldn't be a problem for DJT.

58:

There was a good Photoshop done a couple years back, of a flooded street somewhere in the US with a submarine conning tower sailing merrily down the middle of the road.

Here's a picture of the lifting operation that put the submarine Akishio into place in the JMSDF museum's car park in Kure, south of Hiroshima. The Akishio weighs more than twice than the U-505 does.

https://i.redd.it/5v4qlw0l09x01.jpg

59:

mdive
The real problem with BoZo is that he's like Charles I - completely, utterly untrustworthy.
So as you suggest, he could go either way, for no reason whatsoever, other than his own ego ....

Which brings us to IQ45
If I were Biden, I would "simply" encourage all the various individual US states' who have "legal problems" with DJT to pursue those as vigorously as possible - "Nothing to do with us"

As you say - C-19
Basically how fast & how thoroughly can the developed world roll out working vaccines?
I must admit the prospect of having both the Pfizer & "Oxford" (Zeneca) ones up, running & jabbing is about the only reasonable hope.

60:

Pfizer and Moderna combine to become Kellis-Amberlee.

The New Management invades our reality. They are welcomed.

Brexit is revoked. The UK remains in the EU. The rest of the EU members all leave in protest.

Disney releases Star Wars 10.

Let's see, what else?


61:

Re: 'US passports are revocable'

Ahem ... DT's been moving along the 'de-naturalization' continuum for some time now.

Anyways, if he moved away, lost his citizenship and tried to get it back, he'd flunk the requirements below unless he finally admitted that he's certifiably/medically nuts. My impression is that there's something like a 10 year wait to go before a citizenship judge. He might still have enough pull to wangle a much earlier hearing which might set off unpleasant protests and investigations into how this service is run.

1- must show good moral character

2- willingness to support and defend the U.S. and the Constitution.

3- able to read, write, speak, and understand English words in ordinary use (Cue Randy Rainbow's "Covfefe")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UW2ZndKqcg

4- knowledge of the fundamentals of U.S. history and certain principles of U.S. government

5- oath of allegiance

He'd probably pass the $$$-related requirements.

62:

I'm not sure the timing of the vaccine rollout here in BC. I suspect that as a 'front line' health worker I'll be close to the frontish part of the line (though obviously behind ER and Geriatric care medicals and long-term care homes).

In practice I suspect it will be an orderly delivery through the first couple of tiers of priority, followed by lots of grumpy people wanting their shot right now, followed by a permanent campaign to beg/cajole/force the various antivax and skeptics to just get the damn shot already.

Given that I find myself regularly exposed to unhealthy people in my work, I am walking a tightrope that is increasingly unsteady - bring on the damn vaccine asap.

Of course, our provincial government announced a $4/hr pandemic top-up in pay for front line workers last year, ending on July 4th (for some reason). While we get regular updates of progress, that pay has yet to arrive. Given that it is a comparatively straightforward accounting process, this does not give me optimism for a vaccine rollout happening in a timely fashion.

63:

In other interesting news the Chang'e-5 Lunar sampling mission's return capsule was opened today and the sample container removed. The container has, apparently, about 1700g of sample material aboard. A good haul.

64:

I'd like to use them while I can still walk without a cane.

Quite. And as per Robert's comment...

Our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe was going to be the second half of 2020. Neither of us has travelled overseas: it's always been either money, responsibilities, or sometimes both and we're in our 50s now. This was the year when the stars lined up, or rather would have but for covid. At least distancing has meant not having to see the much of the very travelled friends who complain constantly about having to change their plans.

So anyway, that's indefinitely postponed, not cancelled. One day the world will settle down again, but we're not really expecting this to be possible again for at least 3 or 4 years. And I can't complain, having so many things to be grateful for at this point in history, not least of which is living in Queensland.

65:

The US carries out massive voter suppression and gerrymandering; if it weren't for that, the US would be mostly blue.

Sort of. You could argue that this is what has enabled the Republicans to drift so far to the right they are basically in a sort of Narnia for Nazis fairyland these days. The premise of a two-party system (and the USA has institutionalised this more than most places) is that both sides adapt to what is electable. So rather than every electorate turning blue, you'd have more moderate red competition for those electorates. But that sort of contest for the middle generally requires much higher turnout that is usual in the USA I guess. Also, getting there from here would be a bit like starting with an omelette and trying to rebuild the eggs. I mean we like to think of this as post-Nixon stuff, but really this sort of fix has been in since reconstruction, at least in the South, yeah?

66:

But that sort of contest for the middle generally requires much higher turnout that is usual in the USA I guess.

No, it is gerrymandering.

There are several States that would put more Democrats into the Congressional House if it wasn't for the gerrymandering, which goes to extremes to place as many Democrats into as few districts as possible.

See this article from 4 days ago about how the Republicans won where it mattered in November - in the State legislatures - and how for many states the support for a party doesn't reflect in the seats one.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/15/gerrymandering-republicans-map-charts-states

This gaming of the system means (per sentence in the Guardian article) that the Republicans could take the House in 2022.

But because they have so distorted the system, this means that the Republicans don't face the pressure to moderate their policies to gain votes.

So higher voter turnout won't reflect much in the number of seats.

And that is without getting into the problems of the Senate.

67:

Mike W @ 7: Except it's a near word for word repost of an old "Adulthood is" meme e.g from 4 years ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/comments/4ta3o9/adulthood_is_like_looking_both_ways_before_you/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

Maybe the kid had a reddit account as a 5 y.o.?

68:

Graydon @ 15: Aside from the tiny core of Kenneyites, Canadians in general have adjudged Trump tacky. Trump is loathed, even among Canadian mammonites. MacLeans has noticed.

"Tacky" ... that's a really good word that should be used more often describing politicians.


69:

Re: 'front-line worker ... vaccine rollout happening in a timely fashion.'

Based on reports that many people who've received the vaccine report feeling under the weather anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after, I've been wondering whether front-line workers should be scheduled for their vaccine shots for the afternoon before whatever their days off happen to be. This probably sounds obvious but I haven't heard anyone mention it: organizations should take into account that some staff will not be physically/medically available for work. If orgs don't take this into account, they'll have staff calling in sick the next day and have to try to operate understaffed, shut down a department/service or quickly find substitute staff to fill in.

I'm guessing front-line workers are probably overworked/over-stressed already and unthinkingly dumping more work on them would only add to their stress. Further - I don't think it's a good idea that medical staff experiencing obvious vaccine reactions attend patients: if they're that sick, they're likelier to make a mistake/not notice something that they needed to notice. They'd also probably scare the crap out of/stress some patients.

70:

Rocketpjs @ 62: I'm not sure the timing of the vaccine rollout here in BC. I suspect that as a 'front line' health worker I'll be close to the frontish part of the line (though obviously behind ER and Geriatric care medicals and long-term care homes).

I'm expecting the VA will be ready to vaccinate me sometime in the March - June time-frame. Be fine with me if they get around to it earlier, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting.

71:

So is the SolarWinds total screw up bringing fear and panic everywhere else? Surely the US isn't the only ones who got hit.

There are two variations of hit. At the first level someone (Russia is the the current leading candidate but see below) attached malware to the SolarWinds management tool software update. So it got installed all over everywhere. But at the next level so far it seems that the back door / payload was only used in a limited number of installations. Likely due to staffing of the bad guys. Walking around 100K networks in the US alone would take a small army of people.

And I can't imagine that this backdoor / malware was only distributed in the US. I'm guessing SolarWinds is sold overseas. Heck, I was going to look at using it for my clients. I guess being overworked the last few months was a good thing.

But hey, we don't have to worry.

Per a Tweet earlier today by fearless leader DJT
"The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control."

So the world is safe. Plus he blames China. Alone on those hills he seems to be standing.

Oh, yeah. Fox News actually has a story on their site that their consultants say the only option is "nuke and pave". No brown nosing there. Rare me thinks. Which may be why the "forever Trumpers" are moving to the really nonsense outlets for their "news".

72:

Chatting with my mother in Aotearoa yesterday, her reply to news of the covid cluster in Sydney was "oh, and my sister's birthday is coming up, you should come over for that because her cancer treatment isn't going well, she might not have another birthday". That whooshing sound is not an airplane, it's a clue passing dangerously close to a 75-ish year old woman.

I ordered a bunch of bread on Tuesday to be picked up at the market today. So I just took the train past the northern beaches where the cluster is. I'm guessing about 10% of passengers were doing the "mandatory mask" thing, fewer the further I got from the beaches. I saw one or two other masks in Gosford (north of the northern beaches) and maybe one passing through the local high street to get home.

The music gig featuring an infectious patron was unsurprisingly productive... https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/we-walked-into-a-cesspool-how-a-covid-19-outbreak-stormed-the-beaches-20201218-p56ory.html

73:

"Tacky" ... that's a really good word that should be used more often describing politicians.

Would apply so broadly as to loose all meaning.

74:

The US carries out massive voter suppression and gerrymandering; if it weren't for that, the US would be mostly blue.

Not so much. Maybe a few states would flip.

I've been gerrymandered for the 30 years I've lived in NC. The first 20 by D's. The next 8 by R's. Then the last 2 sort of not per court orders. We really are a 50/50 state. Well 40/40 + 20 no affiliation per registration rolls but anyway we tend to vote with 52/48 being a big win.

In 2010 we had 10Rs and 3Ds due to gerrymandering. But after all the lawsuits we got re-draw again.

In our last election with court ordered and supported mostly by both sides districts we still wound up with 8Rs and 5Ds. And it would be mostly impossible to come up with a different result without the crazy gerrymandering the D's used to do where two towns were connected via miles of an Interstate highway median strip. Here the D's clump into a few metro areas and the R's are in the rural areas. And you just can't draw a map without crazy connections and come up with 13 competitive districts.

75:

Cross purposes: I wasn't saying that you could fix the problem with higher turnout. My point was that even if the gerrymandering were fixed, the low voter turnout, partly due to active suppression, would mean the problem didn't go away. Both need to be fixed for the "competitive middle" pattern to work.

76:

Charlie, just logging in to remind you (amongst all this crazyness) that you still didn't publish a crib sheet for The Labyrinth Index. You asked me to remind you about this on another thread, so I'm just complying, no pressure at all intended.

Keep up the good work (I think you are one of the greatest writers of our time, I often re-read your books even though I know it by memory because I just like your writing).

All the best greetings, bye.

77:

I suspect that as a 'front line' health worker I'll be close to the frontish part of the line

One hopes so. I suspect I'll be pretty close to the end of the line, unless they roll down age cohorts once they finish the essential/at risk folks. A lot of the public health advice we got in the spring used 70 as an 'age of concern', so while I'm four times more likely to suffer negative outcomes than someone in their 20s, I'm probably not old enough to get vaccinated ahead of the general rush.

And once that happens I suspect my location (Toronto) puts me at further behind than more thinly settled parts of Ontario, assuming I can extrapolate from the availability of flu vaccine. I cynically expect that vaccine distribution within Ontario will be allocated on a regional basis, not by population, so denser areas will have much longer waits.

Given that it is a comparatively straightforward accounting process, this does not give me optimism for a vaccine rollout happening in a timely fashion.

"Bonus pay" for public servants will never be a priority with voters, while vaccines for voters are both more visible and a priority for the voters. I'll bet you a Brickers cider* you get your vaccine before you get your bonus pay :-)

Their hopped cider is nice
https://www.brickerscider.com

*Payable when I next make it back to Sechelt.

78:

Ahem ... DT's been moving along the 'de-naturalization' continuum for some time now.

No, DT, being a natural-born citizen, isn't subject to denaturalization, though the terminology is confusing. He can have his passport revoked unilaterally by the USG for any reason or none, but that doesn't affect citizenship. He could renounce his citizenship himself, or have it revoked if found guilty of treason, which does bring up the Russia thing. But treason is tough to prove.

https://www.usa.gov/renounce-lose-citizenship


You might lose your U.S. citizenship in specific cases, including if you:

Run for public office in a foreign country (under certain conditions)

Enter military service in a foreign country (under certain conditions)

Apply for citizenship in a foreign country with the intention of giving up U.S. citizenship

Commit an act of treason against the United States

79:

https://twitter.com/trvrb/status/1340409968818671616

To sum up -- antigenic drift (the process that requires new flu vaccines to be created and gets influenza viruses past your existing immune system defense from having had flu already) has been observed in SARS-CoV-2. Which implies that this will have to be tracked and vaccines updated as and when the disease starts to mutate enough to evade existing immunities.

80:

Re: 'Run for public office in a foreign country (under certain conditions)'

There are likelier scenarios but having him move to some remote island is the most peaceful all-around. Maybe one of his kids can talk him into buying one and making himself 'king/president for life' - appeal to his narcissism.

81:

I'm finding the "hit by a submarine" thing a bit perplexing.

Unless I've got the wrong end of the stick. It *sounds* like they're trying to say the events were unexpected. Even that they were *very* unexpected. Furthermore that the "look both ways" implies that responsible precautions were taken.

The beginning of the year was "Australia is all on fire" with a side dose of the Amazon and Siberia are also on fire.

Have there not been warnings shouted from the rooftops for about 130 years that this is going to happen? How is this a surprise?

The other "big news" was a plague that we all knew was coming soon. Very soon. And the defences against it were dismantled ahead of time in the full knowledge of what *would* (not could) happen. There was even a TED talk about it.

Nothing in 2020 was even slightly surprising. Even that neocon politics would be utterly incapable of rising to the challenge was certainly expected by anyone who had the slightest understanding.

About the only thing that surprised me was that the inadequate and incompetent response in Australia was as effective as it was. Which just goes to show that even the most stumbling shambolic effort would have been enough to beat this virus.

82:

How is this a surprise?

Because most of the population have been plugging their ears saying la-la-la-la-la-can't-hear-you, while those with money and power have been shouting "look, squirrel!".

I'm now seeing right-wing bloggers blaming scientists. It's obviously scientists' fault, because if they'd been convincing enough we could have solved these problems in time…

83:

I'll go out on a very short limb and wager* that Agent Orange ain't going anywhere after he loses the presidency.

What he's been doing is racking up a huge war chest of money both for his 2024 presidential campaign and for legal expenses, plus skimming money off of his campaign fund. His goal is apparently to become too wealthy** and/or too politically powerful*** to be prosecuted in the US. I think this is daft, but he's got a lot of right wing authoritarian followers conditioned to empty their wallets when he tweets, so he's going to be a hard nut to crack.**** OTOH, every ambitious lawyer will want a piece of him.

This consistent with his strategies of doubling-down and flooding the zone with bullshit. But over a billion in money skimmed or collected under false pretenses just cries out for closer scrutiny, does it not?


*e^ipi pounds (collectable at a special bank behind a certain door in Kensington)
**like Jeffrey Epstein. Or Phil Spector. Or google Viktour Bout.
***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_federal_politicians_convicted_of_crimes
****Anyone who thinks that tough nutting is a good defense really needs to look at videos of how nuts crack/are cracked.

84:

I think the only (minor) surprise was that Agent Orange couldn't even figure out how to use a 70-odd page, simple playbook to rally the CDC, NIH, and cruise to re-election as the hero who stopped the pandemic. I've got a copy of the play book, and it's literally fill in the blank: get these people together, ask them these questions, here's what to do with their responses. Doesn't get more cookbook than that.

Only a colossal, shambling incompetent could screw that up. And guess what...

To drop the sarcasm for a moment, if I wanted him hauled up on charges, this is the one he needs to answer for. He had multiple opportunities to do the right thing and/or fix things, and he deliberately threw away every single one, causing hundreds of thousands of people to die of his negligence. If a military officer can go to prison for less, why shouldn't he?

85:

TV coverage here just now, mostly about what's happening in NSW and the response of other states (declaring Greater Sydney a hotspot, closing borders to people from there, mandatory quarantine, yada yada), had a short segment on what's happening in the UK and mentioned that Scotland has closed its borders with the rest of the UK as part of its COVID response. Hope this isn't another nice hot cup of awful for OGH and others.

86:

I think you've hit the nail on the head.

It's still bewildering though.

87:

I may well get the vaccine before I get my 'hazard pay'. I'm fine with that, money is nice but not much use when dead.

I'll take you up on that cider, I've never tried it despite it being a half a mile from my parents' home. That being said I am apparently in a 'remote' community so won't be getting the Pfizer vaccine, according to a message from our local doctors I read yesterday.
.

Which is utter bollocks riding a drunker manatee. I am 18 miles exactly from the largest city in the province. Many of my neighbours commute to that city, as does my wife on occasion. We can't walk there, but we are not by any stretch a 'remote' community.

Policy written by people in cities who see no reason to actually look at a map prior to making decisions.

88:

declaring Greater Sydney a hotspot, closing borders to people from there

Yep. I have a feeling my trip south in the new year is going to be a dud, even if we make it out of the city. Mate may have been right to text me on Wednesday and say "leave now!"... not that I could, I have stuff to do. But it was tempting. Nice remote holiday house, limited internet, no grid power or water...

89:

David L
No
"Solar Winds" is known to have had effects here - just that "they" ( Meaning GCHQ, probably ) are deliberately not saying a lot, whilst they have a burrow about.
- - -That actually suggests that it is RU, rather than the PRC, of course!

later - not so much a few US states, but the population-rig on your Senate has got to go, surely?

SFR
Like Boney on Elba, you mean?
That didn't turn out too well, either, did it?

As for the general theme of: "Here's how to do $_Specific_Thing in troubled times" - well, we have our own bigmouthed repetitive liar screwing it up by the numbers, twice.
I think we are going to crash out (now) as per Charlie's previous thread.
NOT going to be fun.
And, as per Rbt Prior @ 82 - the rightwingnutters will blame EVERYBODY except themselevs, but especially us "remoaners" & the "experts"
How long they will be able to get away with that is a different question.

90:

That whooshing sound is not an airplane, it's a clue passing dangerously close to a 75-ish year old woman.

In related news: a friend of mine is currently dying in hospital (of an inoperable, aggressive brain tumour, not COVID19, although C19 might have delayed diagnosis/treatment). I haven't seen him since January-ish, although he lives less than a mile away. In a normal year we'd be heading round to his place for a big Newtonmass pot-luck feast, and again on New Year's Day.

I'm not saying you should infect your friends and family, but ... Zoom, Skype, Facetime, folks: don't leave it too long.

91:

You asked me to remind you about this on another thread, so I'm just complying, no pressure at all intended.

I can't take the time to do it right now because of the embargoed news alluded to in the OP -- I am really busy with work right now. Mugged by deadlines that didn't exist this time last month.

92:

I think the only (minor) surprise was that Agent Orange couldn't even figure out how to use a 70-odd page, simple playbook to rally the CDC, NIH, and cruise to re-election as the hero who stopped the pandemic.

But you forget: the playbook had Obama cooties! And everyone KNOWS that everything Obama did in his eight year term was fiendishly focussed on sabotaging his anointed successor, Donald J. Trump! So the playbook was either defective or full of cues to make TheDonald look bad! So it had to go! False playbook! Bad!

(Exit, shambling off-stage left, burbling incoherent racist nonsense.)

93:

Totally not unexpected news, that: and Scotland is generally handling things better than England in terms of per-capita deaths. It's still absolutely terrible by general EU standards, but the furlough and lockdown budgets are doled out by Westminster, i.e. the Johnson government, so Sturgeon has very limited maneuvering room and is mostly focussing on clear communication and keeping Scottish policy consistent rather than veering all over the map on a daily basis.

The real horror show is Northern Ireland, where Arlene Foster (the DUP first minister) used the sectarian veto to block a move to a tigher COVID19 tier in November, with the result that hospitals are now redlining (bed occupancy at 105%, patients treated in ambulances in car parks, etc).

And there's the ominous news about the new, more contagious strain from the south-east which apparently accounts for 60% of new cases in London this month.

The TLDR is that the UK has handled COVID19 consistently worse than the USA until recently, then the USA went totally nuts in mid-October and seems to be trying to max out fatalities, while the UK is flailing helplessly (see also: Boris Johnson and "leadership" in the same sentence) but at least wants to get it under control.

94:

Lets see, for my birthday so far I got Fukushima and a Global Pandemic.

I think 2021 will be something like Joe Biden starting a hot war with Iran or even Russia because the USA will become too frustrated over losing millions to Covid-19, declining competitiveness and influence, while at the same time losing the Cyber War (that the USA started when hacking the Iranian centifuges).

A distraction will be needed, and it will backfire as it always does.

95:

A distraction will be needed, and it will backfire as it always does.

Disagree.

There's so much shit lying around everywhere that the Biden admin will have their work cut out for the first six months just sweeping it off the sidewalks and into the streets.

And that's assuming the Democrat candidates take those two Georgia senate seats in the run-off. If they don't? Four years of gridlock ahoy!

96:

I am apparently in a 'remote' community so won't be getting the Pfizer vaccine, according to a message from our local doctors I read yesterday.

They -- the Canadian federal gov't -- bought a lot of Moderna doses, and those have a cold chain but it's not the difficult and fininicky cold chain the Pfizer vaccine needs. So in the Canadian tradition of cost minimization, we're not building the cold chain for Pfizer for anywhere that hasn't already got it (existing regional hospitals, and not all of those; they're not sure about Sudbury or Thunder Bay, for example), because we don't have to; everybody remote gets Moderna instead. (Note that it looks very much like the "and how do we get Pfizer does on to distribution points from the regional hospital?" is a hard question, and the "put the cold chain into every pharmacy" response is "not this year, not next year" sort of problem.)

So far as I know, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are much of a muchness for protective effect; Moderna is available later but likely not later than there would be enough Pfizer doses, on the one hand, and at least in Ontario all the dates are squishy and if you're not in either long term care or working in a hospital you won't get vaccinated this year anyway.

The general schedule vagueness is (I hope) lack of certainty about supply and someone over in the communications department explaining very patiently that no hopeful statements can be permitted; it's a crisis, you have to be just-the-facts about a crisis. I really hope it's not actual uncertainty of supply or someone deciding they don't really have to vaccinate everybody, that's expensive.

97:

The cold chain infrastructure built out for the Pfizer vaccine will work for future mRNA vaccines which are going to be the Next Big Thing in medicine (Nobel Prizes all round!) after the current drama subsides. Having that cold-chain in place for COVID-19 is not an unnecessary expenditure in terms of money or resources.

Twice may be a coincidence but both mRNA vaccines developed to combat SARS-CoV-2 have shown very high efficacy rates whereas the more conventional Oxford/AstraZeneca adenovirus-based vaccine approach is lagging them by a significant (in the statistical sense) amount. I'd expect a big push to develop, say, an mRNA-based flu vaccine that could be effective for several years against a number of influenza strains rather than the existing a-shot-every-year based on guesswork as to which strain will spread widely in six months time. There are other diseases that might succumb to the mRNA approach too. The Holy Grail would be inoculations against the hundred or so rhinoviruses that result in the common cold.

I'd expect future mRNA vaccine engineering would reduce the cold-chain requirements gradually but the lipid membrane delivery system it uses is pretty fragile, temperature-wise.

98:

Re: ' ... someone deciding they don't really have to vaccinate everybody, that's expensive.'

My impression is that Canada put together a specialist panel (medicos, scientists & logistics) to figure out priorities to optimize distribution based on whatever then-known data. Also that they've had at least one dry run to verify that approach. The first two vaccines actually need at least three distinct passes:

(a) set-up equipment;
(b) vaccine - 1st shot;
(c) vaccine - 2nd shot.

Add to this that the vaccines are shipped in bulk - x number of doses per package - and they don't want to 'waste' any vaccine, therefore in some regions individuals in 'lower' risk groups will receive the vaccine ahead of higher risk individuals in other regions. (This is where some will scream 'Unfair'!)

I'm guessing (hoping) that analyses re: feedback on results (what worked/what didn't & why) will also be handled professionally. This is a first for everyone concerned therefore screw-ups because people didn't anticipate something including weather conditions (Canada's winters can get fierce) are likely to happen. Hopefully, they'll have a Plan B and even a Plan C. Meanwhile I also expect that Canadian version right-wingers (esp. Alberta-based PCs) will continue politicizing the virus because that strategy has been so effective in the US and UK.

I have family in both the US and Canada: search pulls up local headlines/articles from both whenever I check the news.

Greg:

DT was never 'able'.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/napoleon-exiled-to-elba

'Although Napoleon developed a reputation for being power-hungry and insecure, he is also credited with enacting a series of important political and social reforms that had a lasting impact on European society, including judiciary systems, constitutions, voting rights for all men and the end of feudalism. Additionally, he supported education, science and literature. His Code Napoleon, which codified key freedoms gained during the French Revolution, such as religious tolerance, remains the foundation of French civil law.'

99:

That being said I am apparently in a 'remote' community so won't be getting the Pfizer vaccine, according to a message from our local doctors I read yesterday.

I was under the impression that "remote" in the context of the Pfizer vaccine meant 'longer and/or less reliable supply line than we like'. I wonder if someone decided that BC Ferries wasn't reliable enough for delivery?

Or maybe the hospitals on the Sunshine Coast can't deal with the storage requirements? I know the Sechelt hospital seems to regularly send patients to Vancouver by helicopter.

Guessing you're in/near Gibsons.

100:

The cold chain infrastructure built out for the Pfizer vaccine will work for future mRNA vaccines which are going to be the Next Big Thing in medicine (Nobel Prizes all round!) after the current drama subsides. Having that cold-chain in place for COVID-19 is not an unnecessary expenditure in terms of money or resources.

Remember you are talking about a country that had a SARS epidemic, and systematically dismantled all the measures put in place after that to deal with 'hypothetical' future pandemics.

Learning lessons about health care is not something Canadian governments are good at.

I think part of the problem is being so close to America. Even the worst Canadian government (Alberta, say) looks better in terms of health care than what we see south of the border, so the bar is set pretty low…

101:

SFReader @ 98

I have this memory of Napoleon and his troops bringing the Enlightenement to Spain:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon#/media/File:El_Tres_de_Mayo,_by_Francisco_de_Goya,_from_Prado_thin_black_margin.jpg

102:

Alberta, however, is Texas North: big hats, pickup trucks, and oil. It also has just 4.4 million of 38 million Canadians. Once the oil shale goes away (already happening) you can safely ignore them.

Much like Trump and the Republicans, Alberta has infected the Canadian Conservative parties.

Nearly half of Canadian Conservatives would trust Trump more than Trudeau. Most Albertans are Conservative, but most Conservatives are not Albertan.

The current leader of the federal Conservative Party spends time giving lessons on "owning the libs" and how to say things that "piss off woke lefties". As opposed to, say, formulating and articulating policies that they would enact if in power.

103:

Graydon wrote: "It takes ~60 days for the mRNA vaccines to build to full immunity"

Can you provide a reference to support that statement? Makes sense, but I did a quick Google and didn't find anything. I'd like an authoritative reference before I spread that info to friends and family.

104:

Charlie @ 93
Not saying that our misgovernment have not screwed up, nor that they are anything other than incompetent ... but, even countries like Germany are in a real pickle, right now - more-or-less-complete lockdown until 10th January, IIRC.
It's bad for everyone, just that ours is worse ( I think )

Nojay
Having that cold-chain in place for COVID-19 is not an unnecessary expenditure in terms of money or resources.
I / you / we know that, but fuckwit cheapskate grandstanding politicians, especially those concerned with "cutting taxes" don't or won't.
Same as ( quoting a discussion on R4 yesterday ) "We have valued efficiency over resilience" - & it's back to Arthur Wellesly & rope harnesses, isn't it?

SFR
NEVER FORGET that Boney the Corsican Tyrant ... re-introduced slavery which had been abolished in the revolution.
I see that Niala has also remembered that this "Napoleon the Liberator" puff is lying bullshit.

105:

Followup for Graydon: Upon reflection, I wonder if you were referring to the Pfizer vaccine specifically. I know that requires a second vaccination after a few weeks have elapsed to acquire full effectiveness. The Moderna vaccine doesn't seem to require a second shot.

106:

The thing to remember about "cold chains" is that they've been a staple of molecular biology for decades. Every college or university that's doing molecular biology (or tech firm, for that matter) probably has at least one -80, and Fedex, UPS, or others are used to hauling stuff fast in dry ice to get it there. The challenge for the vaccine is scaling this supply chain up, not bringing it into being.

They're not shipping out liter vessels of frozen vaccine concentrate. Pfizer's shipping out their vaccine in doses of 0.3 ml concentrate (six doses per vial). These have to be thawed and mixed in the pharmacy with normal saline for administration, and then the mix is good for a couple of hours. So one logistical challenge is making sure that six patients are lined up to receive each mix so that none goes to waste. This is turning out to be a problem in ERs and ICUs, where the employees are too busy to take 30 minutes and go get vaccinated.* Yes, my wife's a pharmacist who's going to be dispensing it. Why do you ask?

Speaking of pharmacy-land, the hospital chain where my wife works invested in three -80 freezers earlier this year (one for every major hospital), then contracted with Pfizer to get doses for all their employees and probably some patients. This is one thing that's not in the news, but Pfizer's not selling all their vaccine production to Operation Warp Speed. There's apparently a fair amount that they're selling direct to hospitals who decided not to trust the government distribution system. I suspect that some of the chaos with Warp Speed, the OMG there's vaccine that they're not shipping, may well come down to the US Government not contracting for all of Pfizer's output (or Moderna's for that matter), so a bunch of it has been contracted out to other parties. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is the kind of mess that a competent administration probably would have avoided.

Also, if you've seen articles (as in the LA Times) about celebrities nosing around and offering bribes to jump to the head of the vaccination line? Probably they could buy the vaccine direct from Pfizer and save on the bribery and corruption stuff. All they'd have to do is get their personal doctor up to speed and pay to get a vial or two of concentrate shipped direct to the doctor.

*There was some amusing gossip about an engineer on an ICU floor getting vaccinated ahead of some ER doctors. It's not clear quite what happened, but he may have been available when there was a spare dose, while the doctors were too busy to get the shot. Or something. The less amusing thing is that the hospital is filling up with covid19 patients, and along with the doctors and nurses, they also need the tech staff to repair equipment like ventilators. It may be that someone in hospital administration figured this out and put engineering along with housekeeping on the high priority list.

107:

Re: Napoleon - slavery

Haven't read anything about Napoleon since high school which wasn't that much anyway. Just looked up Nap & slavery and found the below: Yeah, he undid the 1794 anti-slavery legislation to appease 'businessmen'.

https://www.napoleon.org/en/history-of-the-two-empires/articles/bullet-point-9-napoleon-bring-back-slavery/


Re: Spain

Yeah, Spain was Napoleon's combination of VietNam (war atrocities, expensive military losses) and the UK's initial response via Chamberlain: 'If we get on Adolph's good side, things/we'll be okay'.

There's a lesson in here somewhere.

108:

The Moderna vaccine doesn't seem to require a second shot.

It apparently does, four weeks after the first rather than three.

The Pfizer-BioNTech is 0.3-millilitre dose of a white-ish coloured liquid. Two shots are given 21 days apart.

The Moderna dose is also “white to off-white” but is 0.5 -millilitres. Two shots are given 28 days apart.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/12/17/comparing-covid-19-vaccines-whats-the-difference-between-the-pfizer-and-the-moderna-dose.html


Interesting that the Moderna vaccine costs nearly twice what the Pfizer one does (and IIRC Moderna got significant funding to develop it, too).

https://www.acsh.org/news/2020/11/23/comparing-covid-vaccines-pfizer-vs-moderna-vs-astrazenecaoxford-15170

109:

Just looked up Nap & slavery and found the below: Yeah, he undid the 1794 anti-slavery legislation to appease 'businessmen'.

Book you might enjoy: The Black Count by Tom Reiss. Story of General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, father of Alexandre Dumas the author of The Three Musketeers and other swashbucklers.

Excellent read, deservedly won the Pulitzer in 2013.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Count:_Glory,_Revolution,_Betrayal,_and_the_Real_Count_of_Monte_Cristo

110:

Re: ' ... put engineering along with housekeeping on the high priority list.'

They probably realized this when they needed to figure out how to expand and maintain their ICU capacities.


Re: Celebrities & vaccine access

Saw a headline from a Canadian news source some days ago that because in Canada it's the Fed gov't that is purchasing the vaccines in bulk for the entire country: anyone receiving emails about jumping the queue/directly purchasing any COVID-19 vaccine should treat that as a scam. And they should also report such scams to the authorities. I'm guessing this is likely true for all countries with a universal healthcare system/centralized vac purchase/distribution. IOW: Watch for scary headlines of mystery deaths attributed to COVID-19 vaccines in Brazil and the US followed by anti-vaxxers screaming: It's the leftie scientists' fault!


111:

Re: ' ... put engineering along with housekeeping on the high priority list.'

They probably realized this when they needed to figure out how to expand and maintain their ICU capacities.

There were reports in the Press yesterday that an ICU in Turkey blew up, killing eight or nine people. There seems to have been a problem with their oxygen supply although how that resulted in an explosion I'm not sure.

Early on in the pandemic a couple of British hospitals ran into engineering problems with their ICU facilities where, it turned out, the oxygen feed system wasn't up to supplying all the beds with high-flowrate oxygen simultaneously. It hadn't been forseen that all bed occupants would be on supplementary oxygen so the piping, regulators etc. couldn't meet the demand. They can now. Thanks, Mz. ICU Engineer!

112:

I cynically expect that vaccine distribution within Ontario will be allocated on a regional basis, not by population, so denser areas will have much longer waits.

Conveniently rewarding voters who support the current government, and punishing the city he hates.

113:

Re: Napoleon & Dumas (The Black Count by Tom Reiss)

Thanks -- looks very interesting!

Checked the BBC radio site but couldn't locate their interviews with Reiss -- did find some related videos that I'm going to watch later today.

'Tom Reiss - The Black Count - Part 1'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjSXNlVlBek

114:

Getting access to a vaccine is the least of my worries. I have tested positive for Covid in late November even though being in lockdown and following all sensible precautions. That was the day before bookshops were to reopen and I was keen to go to WHSmith or Gibert and get OGH's latest. No such luck.
After ten days of self-isolation (not easy) and having all my contacts (2) declared and tested (none of them positive), I have been tested again -negative- , so I got out to finally get my book-shopping done and could not find a copy of DLD in any store. Will I have to break a long-standing pledge and order it online? I'm still on a fence about that.

115:

gasdive:81
Unless I've got the wrong end of the stick. It *sounds* like they're trying to say the events were unexpected. Even that they were *very* unexpected. Furthermore that the "look both ways" implies that responsible precautions were taken.

If the message is the correct one, that all of this was predictable and could have been prepared for, then that means someone needs to be blamed.

And while there obviously is blame for Trump, the blame spreads around wide and far, and thus for many powerful people better to pretend otherwise.

Heteromeles:83
I'll go out on a very short limb and wager* that Agent Orange ain't going anywhere after he loses the presidency.

Yep, as I said before his options are limited unless he is willing to disappear, and there is no indication that is true.

In addition to the things you mentioned regarding his raised money, also to influence upcoming primaries over the next 4 years - which is why so many Republicans are remaining "loyal" to him - they are terrified of what he will do when they next need to primary.

Heteromeles:84
I think the only (minor) surprise was that Agent Orange couldn't even figure out how to use a 70-odd page, simple playbook to rally the CDC, NIH, and cruise to re-election as the hero who stopped the pandemic.

OGH mentioned the Obama problem, with has a lot of truth - but it is also a case of bad timing and surrounding yourself with yes-people.

Bad timing because it came within a year of the election - Trump has always measured himself as a businessman, and the result is as President he measured himself against Wall Street - it was too close to the election for him do even consider doing anything that would jeopardize Wall Street.

Had it happened in his first year, things may have been different, not least because one of his then influences (back when the White House had some more responsible people) could have spun a way for him to blame Obama for the pandemic - but by year 4 not a chance.

Damian:85
Scotland has closed its borders with the rest of the UK as part of its COVID response. Hope this isn't another nice hot cup of awful for OGH and others.

It's all about the new strain of Covid that spreads faster, which I suspect Scotland is hoping they can keep it out of Scotland given that they are restricted by Westminster on most other options (Wales apparently already has the new strain so no point in them closing their border).

Note also that the European mainland countries are also starting to stop travel from the UK as a result of this new strain.

fajensen:94
I think 2021 will be something like Joe Biden starting a hot war with Iran or even Russia because the USA will become too frustrated over losing millions to Covid-19, declining competitiveness and influence

Biden likely has only 2 years to try to get anything done - the Democrats losing at the State level means the Republicans are in charge for a lot of re-districting prior to 2022, and so a Republican controlled House is a possibility (if not likely given mid-terms often punish the party that holds the White House).

As such for 2021/2022 he doesn't have time to spend distracted on outside stuff unless something external happens that forces his hand.

Robert Prior:100
Remember you are talking about a country that had a SARS epidemic, and systematically dismantled all the measures put in place after that to deal with 'hypothetical' future pandemics.

Learning lessons about health care is not something Canadian governments are good at.

I think part of the problem is being so close to America.

Being close to the US is a major contributor - we face significant pressure to keep cutting taxes to "remain competitive" with companies across the border, and that pressure combined with the costs of running healthcare means a lot of other stuff gets squeezed - and even relatively small amounts of money become tempting after 10 years of nothing happening...

Robert Prior:102
Much like Trump and the Republicans, Alberta has infected the Canadian Conservative parties.

Alberta is a problem, but the proximity to the US is also a problem outside of Alberta.

The current leader of the federal Conservative Party spends time giving lessons on "owning the libs" and how to say things that "piss off woke lefties". As opposed to, say, formulating and articulating policies that they would enact if in power.

Canadians continually remain smug about the excesses of the Republican Party not crossing the border, yet it usually happens - just on a 5 or so year delay.

The current provincial leader in Ontario came to power on a very similar platform as the populists used in the US/UK, with a bunch of Trump elements including being beholden to the Ontario version of the religious right.

116:

There were reports in the Press yesterday that an ICU in Turkey blew up, killing eight or nine people. There seems to have been a problem with their oxygen supply although how that resulted in an explosion I'm not sure.

This news article indicates an oxygen cylinder exploded, causing a fire.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fire-in-turkish-icu-unit-treating-covid-19-patients-kills-9/

117:

1. Trump goes far enough in a coup attempt to be arrested, but fails due to ineptitude. Next 12 months are dominated by coverage of legal woes.
2. Upon observation of long-term covid effects, most students return to school early 2022.
3. Hard Brexit - lower political cost to blame EU and COVID than to lose negotiations.
4. New COVID round requiring new vaccine, mutation in USA.
5. First wave COVID dies out fairly quickly once population hits 40% vaccination, probably in June. (Because denser portion of country already had the virus.)

118:

Conveniently rewarding voters who support the current government, and punishing the city he hates.

Why change a winning strategy?

119:

"4. New COVID round requiring new vaccine, mutation in USA."

You're behind on your news, looks like the mutation already happened in ...

TaDa! UK!

https://khub.net/documents/135939561/338928724/SARS-CoV-2+variant+under+investigation%2C+meeting+minutes.pdf/962e866b-161f-2fd5-1030-32b6ab467896?t=1608470511452

As for "requiring new vaccine", time will show, but probably not.

120:

Had it happened in his first year, things may have been different, not least because one of his then influences (back when the White House had some more responsible people) could have spun a way for him to blame Obama for the pandemic - but by year 4 not a chance.

Well, at some point, there's this thing called leadership. In the case of Covid-19, what most competent leaders did around the world was:
1. There's this coronavirus coming out of China.
2. It's been expected, we know it's going to be bad.
3. Here's all the stuff we need to do to keep everyone safe.
4. Do it.
5. Charitably help the democratic strongholds (cities) that are the epicenters of the infection, while the rural voters watch.

At this point, the democrats are both owned and screwed. Basic competence in a crisis is one of those things that wins elections, just as it almost certainly cost Trump this one.

Full disclosure: one of the few republicans I've voted for was Gov. Schwarznegger. Reason was, when he was in LA, he lived a few miles from where I grew up, and I knew he'd been through a bunch of natural disasters because my family had been through the same ones. When his opponent was a developer's sock puppet who radiated entitlement to the job without sufficient qualifications (sort of like Newsom, but far worse), voting for the Gubernator was easy, and he turned out to be an okay governor once he shed the Republican idiology and got down to making things work.

121:

The Moderna vaccine doesn't seem to require a second shot.

That would be news to the FDA.

Note particularly Table 10. Subgroup Analyses of Vaccine Efficacy, COVID-19 14 Days After Dose 2.

122:

Robert Prior: Yes, Gibsons. There is only one hospital here, in Sechelt, but it was recently expanded and I'd be astonished if it didn't have cold storage capacity. The Sunshine Coast occupies a funny little blind spot in the eyes of most people, including government. Most seem to routinely assume we are on an/the island, and think no further. Normally I like this - small town life (unlocked doors) within spitting distance of the metropolis - but not this time.

Re: Alberta. Like many places in Canada, Alberta has a long history of skewing riding boundaries such that an urban riding can have dramatically more actual people than rural ridings. Not coincidentally, the rural ridings skew right. Also not coincidentally, the Conservative party in its various guises has been in control of the province since inception, aside from a recent brief nightmare of competent governance which ended after 4 years. There is also the usual petro-state regulatory capture and blatant corruption that is to be expected in these cases.


123:

~60 days to full immunity

The FDA briefing doc for Pfizer; the FDA brief doc for Moderna.

Pfizer Figure 2 is the "days after dose 1" efficacy curve; it's on page 30 of the briefing doc PDF. The last severe case in the vaccinated population is on day 63.

Moderna Figure 2 is on page 28; it's not as large, nor quite as helpful. The interesting thing with Moderna is that they get to 95% confidence that it's 100% protective fourteen days after the second dose. (top of page 27.) That's day 42.

(I am in NO WAY a specialist in this subject but it's hard to avoid the impression from these documents that you'd rather get the Moderna vaccine if you have a choice.)

"Sixty days" is the long tail of the immunity build; both vaccines work by slow accumulation of immunity, and both are not especially well characterized because we've never done this before; first mRNA vaccines ever given to humans.

I am not finding the specific sixty-day figure back out of the net; I recall it as someone with a virology background making cautious noises about how long you should suppose immunity is going to take, especially since the rate of immunity gain for older people isn't well-characterized. (Not specifically studied, but expected to be slower than the study averages, which went for as much breadth as they could cram into the relatively small-in-this-context study populations.)

124:

You have missed the target by a larger than average mile. History is rarely available in simple metaphor.

Napoleon was a self-centered psychopath. He was also extremely able. The difference between Napoleon and Trump is in the ability. When his inability to accept his limitations, outweighed his ability to manage the fallout; the inevitable collapse came about.

Few generals in the late 18c and early 19c came anywhere near his ability (to all Brits, of which I am one, Arthur Wellesley was second rate - he almost lost Waterloo - Blucher saved him despite himself). This ability plus his reputation meant that if Nap was in a battle put the fear of Dog into the opposition so he won battles (in the 19C) that he could have lost. When he relied on his own Generals, he hoped they were lucky (that's a paraphrase of his opinion)

The UK used Spain to bleed Napoleon's limited capacity to raise forces- whether this was a conscious policy or not is debatable. The Russian campaign just exacerbated that problem for France.

Napoleon had very few principles. Pragmatism was his General. The Code Napoleon, whilst very practical, gave him absolute power - he became unable to delegate (is that a definition of megalomania?).

Great Britain controlled the sea from 1806 but needed to beat France on the Continent. Spain was their only real physical opportunity. The alternative was the use of wealth; which they had, but not in unlimited quantities.

125:

Permit me to recommend again Trevor Bedord's wall of graphs and links.

Particularly, In new work, we show a human coronavirus evolves to escape neutralization by antibody immunity, Recent announcements have focused on spread of N501Y in the UK (https://twitter.com/CovidGenomicsUK/status/1338580111986204672) and independent emergence and spread of N501Y in South Africa (https://twitter.com/DrZweliMkhize/status/1339970259332325383)., and Independent emergence and spread of variants is suggestive of natural selection where in addition to N501Y we see for example S477N emerging independently in Europe (https://nextstrain.org/ncov/europe?c=gt-S_222,439,477) and in Australia (https://nextstrain.org/ncov/oceania?c=gt-S_222,477)

Summary of the summary; SARS-CoV-2 is mutating; like any coronavirus, it looks like the reinfection time due to mutating around existing immunities is two to three years; the 2021 vaccines don't require update on available data; there's a whole lot of natural selection going on, and it's happening to the virus much quicker than it's happening to us. Expect revaccination (like flu) and to have to include genomic surveillance with vaccination records.


My uneducated conclusion -- going to be a job of work to get rid of this stuff. On the plus side, figuring out how might make extirpating the common cold practical.

126:

Nojay
Oxygen increases combution rates ( Shall we say? )
Also do not EVER allow a pure O2-flow to touch grease, especially around screw-fittings, like you get on Oxy-cylinders - this is guaranteed to start a serious fire. From there to an explosion is an easy step, again especially if you have an undetected Oxygen leak.
You only need untrained staff, of people who won't/can't listen & you've got a problem ....
Oh, yes, mdive has more on that.

stimer
If you are in the UK, you should be able to order from "Transreal" bookshop in Edinburgh. ( I use their services )

mdive
unless he is willing to disappear, - very difficult, anyway. Up until 12.00hrs, 20/01/2021, he has the "Presdiential" Secret Service guard, so he can't go anywhere & after then he has the samller permanent ex-presidentail Secret Service guard.
He's go to get away from, or suborn them, hasn't he?
The latter is the one to worry about, of course - see below, incidentally.

Erwin:
Quote from the "indy: Donald Trump has reportedly discussed the option of bringing in the military in an effort to rewrite the election result – with senior officials said to have voiced opposition to the plan – as the president searches for options as he refuses to accept his loss.
Michael Flynn, whom Mr Trump recently pardoned for lying to the FBI, apparently suggested the president could impose martial law and use the military to re-run the vote.
Meanwhile, lawyer Sidney Powell, who was booted from his campaign's legal team after pushing unfounded conspiracy theories, has been touted as a potential new special counsel investigating allegations of voter fraud

Could he, really try this?
Is he desperate & stupid enough?

Talking of desperate & apparently stupid, though BoZo is actually "too clever" - what are our prospects for next year, or even next week?
Sorry - don't understand your #3 - do you mean BoZo will go for crash-Brexit & then blame the EU & the virus, or blame virus & scrape a deal of some sort, thus "winning" negotiations?

127:

Graydon, thanks for the details of the response times. Either the local news media didn't mention the second dose for the Moderna vaccine, or I outright missed it. Your suggestion of 60 days makes sense given the data you provided. Thanks for the sources!

128:

SlightlyFoxed @ 124

I know of only one general who was consistently superior to Napoleon, each time he met him on a field of battle. Well, nearly each time, since he was an epileptic.

When Archduke Charles of Austria (1771-1847) directed his troops against Napoleon he would always win, when he was in good health. When he was indisposed by his epilepsy, Austria would lose.

129:

"My uneducated conclusion -- going to be a job of work to get rid of this stuff."

Chances are pretty good that we never will get rid of it.

But in around a decade it will most likely have been downgraded to just yet another causative agent of what we dismissively call "the common cold".

130:

after then he has the samller permanent ex-presidentail Secret Service guard.
He's go to get away from, or suborn them, hasn't he?

By disappear, I mean from public - the Tweets and rallies and other public appearances.

As long as he insists on remaining public (and the associated attempt to influence both the Republican Party and the US government) no other country will want the hassle of him being within their borders

As for as the secret service is concerned, they aren't his prison guards - if he wants to leave the country that can't stop him once he is the ex-President (and the ability while President is "untested" I would guess).

(on second thought, could Boris be that exception and welcome him?)

Could he, really try this?
Is he desperate & stupid enough?

Irrelevant.

In order to attempt a coup, you need more than just a President and a handful of stupid followers.

The problem for Trump, to I assume his dismay, is that he is finding out that the various parts of the US government (judges, military, etc.) are not loyal to him but instead to the US and it's laws.

So it is possible he is having these thoughts, and possible that he has attracted a handful of people who have escaped reality and are promoting the ideas to him. But at the end of the day all it is going to amount to is a bunch of news stories with click-bait headlines, while potentially furthering his personal feelings of grievance.

131:

By disappear, I mean from public - the Tweets

I am rather hoping that as soon as Biden becomes president Twitter downgrades Trump's account to a normal one, which means applying all the sanctions he's escaped because as a public figure he's been given more latitude.

132:

But in around a decade it will most likely have been downgraded to just yet another causative agent of what we dismissively call "the common cold".

That would imply that everybody who is not genetically fortunate with respect to SARS-CoV-2 infection is dead.

I do hope that it not the case!

133:

I'm not saying you should infect your friends and family, but ... Zoom, Skype, Facetime, folks: don't leave it too long.

Very much so. I've been using zoom despite my reservations, and whatever the google video thing is, and skype. And I had another facebook account attacked by "please provide a copy of your ID" gremlins so that's off the table again. I get the impression that no phone = automatically flagged as suspicious. Sadly I have friends who are the internet = facebook so without that account I can't talk to them. I mean, technically I could ring them but in practice they either don't answer or "reply" via facebook to say "WTF?"

It was amsuing to find myself in the 'kids corner" of the UK family group call, me and the nephews looking bored while the dults blithered away happily. But it made the various parental units happy and that's what counts.

134:

Chances are pretty good that we never will get rid of it. But in around a decade it will most likely have been downgraded to just yet another causative agent of what we dismissively call "the common cold".

I agree with the first, but not necessarily the second.

While yes, it's entirely possible that a new mutation will outcompete the old ones and be less lethal, the problem with Covid19 is that it's already at 50% asymptomatic. To put it in gaming terms, it's a d20. If you roll above a 10, nothing happens. If you roll 5-10, it's a bad cold. If you roll below a 5 you're screwed, and if you roll a 1 you die or are (semi)permanently disabled depending on things like quality of care and comorbities. The problem is that, since it spreads pretty well asymptomatically, it's hard to keep it from spreading to the 1-5% who it will take down.

The other thing to contemplate is that it might not be so bad to have Covid19 circulating and have to get a new immunization every 2-3 years. The reason for this grim optimism is that before 2020, when they studied coronviruses, there were over 100 that could infect people and about 20 (IIRC) that looked potentially dangerous. SARS-CoV-2 was not on that list.

So if we were smart, we'd maintain the infrastructure of Covid19 testing, tracking, treating, and prevention, It's easier to piggyback the response to a new coronavirus on the drill everybody already knows.

Unfortunately, we're not smart. Rather worse, restructuring society to avoid those delicious superspreader festivals and events probably isn't going to happen. That is, unless Covid19 lingers and remains deadly, forcing people to adapt after burying a random loved one or friend. People sometimes do the right thing when all other options are exhausted, so having this damned virus riding us like a night hag might inadvertently keep us safer from something truly dangerous, like a coronavirus that's as contagious as measles and as deadly as Covid19.

135:

Rather worse, restructuring society to avoid those delicious superspreader festivals and events probably isn't going to happen

I'm kind of hoping that it will be enough that reinfection is occasionally possible and that when you get reinfected you roll that dice again. Right now I have too many friends saying "We've already had it, we're fine". The scary thing is that some of them include elderly parents in "we".

My bet at this stage is that we're going to see ongoing mutation with re-vaccination, and fairly soon we're going to see airlines flatly refuse anyone who does not have the current set of vaccinations. This will be another boost to private aircraft, but I fear it's not going to lead to border laws following the airlines. Mostly because I think the outcry would be problematic for democratic countries (so Australia will be closed but Aotearoa open... Australia is always good for deprivation of liberty in the name of border security). I suspect that a lot of countries that do close their borders will have semi-official exemptions available to the likes of Tim Cruise and Elon Musk.

Also, it would be hilarious if Bill Gates refused to take the vaccine because of the microchip in it. That might be enough to kill off some of the more insane conspiracy theorists... but it would likely just inflame the whole process so it would be a bad idea. But funny for the first few hours.

136:

I am rather hoping that as soon as Biden becomes president Twitter downgrades Trump's account to a normal one, which means applying all the sanctions he's escaped because as a public figure he's been given more latitude.

It would be nice, but I think if you are Twitter you are in a difficult position.

As long as there is a possibility that Trump runs and wins again in 2024 I would guess any decisions regarding his account will allow for the possibility of retaliation from him in the White House again.

137:

Twitter has already said that Trump's account will loose all of it's privileges come noon Jan 20, 2021

138:

As long as there is a possibility that Trump runs and wins again in 2024 I would guess any decisions regarding his account will allow for the possibility of retaliation from him in the White House again.

That would be appropriately chickenshit. The problem is that they didn't give Biden special privilege after he won. My guess is that they're going to establish a policy that the sitting POTUS is semi-immune, but no one else is.

The other thing to remember is that IQ.45 rules through fear, so one way to forestall a 2024 reckoning is...to follow policy and treat his account like any other when he's not president. He can foam all he wants, but if he gets banned regularly for foaming, he gets banned regularly for foaming.

139:

Twitter has already said that Trump's account will loose all of it's privileges come noon Jan 20, 2021
Suggest an over/under on how long (or how many tweets) it takes him (well, his account) to violate the rules and get banned?


140:

What is your unit of measure?

Days, hours, minutes, or nanoseconds?

141:

2. Upon observation of long-term covid effects, most students return to school early 2022.

Fall (Autumn) 2021 is workable regardless, enough people should be vaccinated at that point.

But the underlying problem is that (so far at least) schooling at home is no where near effective enough to condemn the current kids to losing a year of schooling.

So they will try to get kids back into school at some point sooner rather than later.

4. New COVID round requiring new vaccine, mutation in USA.

As noted, already sort of happened though the belief so far is the current vaccines will also deal with it.

But at some point we will get a mutation somewhere that will require a new vaccine.

For that matter, time will tell how long the current vaccine remains effective and if/what frequency we need to do new rounds of vaccination.

5. First wave COVID dies out fairly quickly once population hits 40% vaccination, probably in June. (Because denser portion of country already had the virus.)

Can't be bothered to look, but the last time I read anything the percentage of the population that have already had Covid remains low, so the denser portion of countries already having had the virus is false (in terms of immunity).

So making Covid a minor (from community spread perspective) issue is going to take far more than 40% vaccination.

142:

So making Covid a minor (from community spread perspective) issue is going to take far more than 40% vaccination.

It's at least in the literature that functional vaccines increase the virulence of the pathogen they immunise against.

(Yes, that literature is about chickens; still, it's an argument from selection, no reason it won't apply to us.)

The reasonable planning scenario is that enough vaccination with a functional vaccine produces a variant where the vaccination ceases to be effective AND where the variant is more severe. You can get around this, but you get around it by using strict infection control until the disease is extirpated.

(A new, more virulent strain might be a communications opportunity, who knows.)

Comes down to the original problem, immediately apparent back in February; you can get the disease under control, or you can do a mammonism. It's an either-or choice. Singapore -- anyone who wants to argue that Singapore isn't capitalist will need footnotes with footnotes and a detailed missive from God -- managed this fine. Most of the Anglosphere has not, and even in New Zealand you got mammonite deathfuckers demanding the pile of corpses in preference to any reduction in insecurity from a source other than personal wealth.

Mammonism is not merely a death cult, but one inconsistent with a functioning public sphere. You'd think COVID-19 would be making that obvious, but apparently not yet in a sufficiently focused way.

143:

Twitter has already said that Trump's account will loose all of it's privileges come noon Jan 20, 2021

I hope your right, but I remain skeptical given the poor track record of all the social media companies in dealing with objectionable stuff that drives page views, and hence revenue.

144:

Note also that the European mainland countries are also starting to stop travel from the UK as a result of this new strain.

According to this:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55385768

UK is quickly being isolated as far as things from the UK to the mainland. Of course one way doesn't work very long.

Freight is being allowed through but I wonder if they are thinking of shutting that down also?

146:

Just guessing, but I'd expect a vaccine to select for increased contagiousness, not necessary virulence. It's a matter of finding suitable hosts when the pool declines, so that favors viruses that travel faster and further. Now yes, this might mean increased virulence, since pouring virus particles out appropriate orifices is one way to try to increase contagion. Equally, it could favor asymptomatic spread, where no one gets vaccinated because it only damages a few people. We'll see.

The thing to remember is that with viruses, it's a random walk across a complex adaptive surface that's intermediated by the genes the virus has, the ability of its hosts to be infected or to be resistant, and the environment. While I don't think we can map that entire surface, it's quite possible that some possibilities (for example, increased contagion without increased virulence) may be impossible for some viruses, while they may be easy for others.

147:

For the next 48 hours.

Not quite "until further notice" just yet.

148:

The same new strain as the one in the UK has been found in 2 other countries: Denmark and South Africa.

But only Israel seems to be taking measures against these two other countries too.

149:

Interestingly, the Murdoch TV in Australia is reporting this as "Christmas rush causes traffic jams" (I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of it)

150:

... voting for the Gubernator was easy, and he turned out to be an okay governor once he shed the Republican idiology and got down to making things work.

This, as I understand it, is what has made him persona non grata to the hard right.

Much like any new leader, he got into office and tried stuff; some worked great, some worked okay, and some totally failed. For the last, he then had a choice between trying something else or doubling down on slogans and ideology, yelling a lot, and blaming scapegoats. The angry shouting people on talk radio are already committed to the latter, yet he tried the former. Fixing problems is much less exciting than blaming someone the lumpenproletariat already hates.

151:

Given the consistency with which this strain is evolving, the odds of it not already existing in the US aren't the best. It may simply not have been detected there yet.

I so wish more people had had to understand natural selection in order to graduate from high school.

152:

Anyone want to chime in with suggestions for a beginner level fixed wing camera platform? Have discussed with friends and decided that more flight time, less noise is worth the "I flew an RC glider a few times 30 years ago" learning curve. Will be hitting the AU forums but I suspect some of you can point me right at a useful dummies guide rather than me having to grind through 200 spam versions first.

153:

This is a well-done piece, worth a read. Questions remain, but it has some useful details (bold mine):
Mutant coronavirus in the United Kingdom sets off alarms but its importance remains unclear (sciencemag, Kai KupferschmidtDec. 20, 2020)
They’re also wondering how it evolved so fast. B.1.1.7 has acquired 17 mutations all at once, a feat never seen before. “There's now a frantic push to try and characterize some of these mutations in the lab,” says Andrew Rambaut, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh.
...
But scientists have never seen the virus acquire more than a dozen mutations seemingly at once. They think it happened during a long infection of a single patient that allowed SARS-CoV-2 to go through an extended period of fast evolution, with multiple variants competing for advantage.
One reason to be concerned, Rambaut says, is that among the 17 are eight mutations in the gene that encodes the spike protein on the viral surface, two of which are particularly worrisome. One, called N501Y, has previously been shown to increase how tightly the protein binds to the ACE2 receptor, its entry point into human cells. The other, named 69-70del, leads to the loss of two amino acids in the spike protein and has been found in viruses that eluded the immune response in some immunocompromised patients.

154:

For the next 48 hours.

Not quite "until further notice" just yet.

My understanding is all of the EU countries have put in 48 hour suspensions of travel which is just to allow time for the EU to meet and come up with an EU wide policy.

So I would think there should be an expectation that it could be extended unless some sort of testing/isolation routine can be implemented (or they discover the new variant is already wide spread).

155:

More SolarWinds news. There was (at least) a second backdoor, (probably) done and (more probably? language unclear) used by a different actor, according to a Microsoft team's analysis/speculation (that I had not even fully skimmed). Now Trump and his army of conspiracy narrative generators (and their allies) will probably attempt a story blaming both Russia and China. This second backdoor seems less elaborate though just as effective, and could quite plausibly have been done by a non-state actor. Wild. (via @thegrugq, again.)
Analyzing Solorigate, the compromised DLL file that started a sophisticated cyberattack, and how Microsoft Defender helps protect customers (December 18, 2020, Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team)
Additional malware discovered
In an interesting turn of events, the investigation of the whole SolarWinds compromise led to the discovery of an additional malware that also affects the SolarWinds Orion product but has been determined to be likely unrelated to this compromise and used by a different threat actor. The malware consists of a small persistence backdoor in the form of a DLL file named App_Web_logoimagehandler.ashx.b6031896.dll, which is programmed to allow remote code execution through SolarWinds web application server when installed in the folder “inetpub\SolarWinds\bin\”.

156:

COVID-19 mutations -

If people are afraid of viruses mutating, they should stop feeding them more humans!


This coronavirus is a molecular assemblage with built-in automated self-assembly mechanisms along with a built-in an 'auto-correct' feature that actually helps reduce its overall transcription error (rate of mutation). It doesn't mutate nearly as fast as some other viruses, but it does and will continue to mutate for as long as it's got access to components (starting with the ACE2 in your body).


The more people that get infected, the greater the likelihood of a mutations/variants appearing - it's simple arithmetic not abstruse math.


Yeah - I'm being repetitive but gotta keep trying ...


As per usual - anyone with actual sci background in this field: feel free to correct, amend, add to, etc.

157:

Moz, I don’t do FPV flight nor even aero photography so I can’t offer anything directly - but I would urge you to try two things:
A) rczone.com almost certainly the biggest RC related site out there with forums for pretty much anything.
B) get a decent flight simulator for your chosen computer- advice on that choice can be found on the aforementioned site.
You’ll probably come up with a mid-size foamy at a guess though maybe a nice 2-3m e-glider would suit your tastes.

My old (late) mate Jef Raskin got the US Forest Service people set up with a contemporary model/radio/camera system for use in surveying remote areas a bit more effectively sometime around the mid-90s. I think he’d be amazed how the availability and cost of such things has changed since then.

158:

thanks.

I know some folks using solar drones for long-ish range fish chasing but those are way out of my range, technically and financially. They seem to lose them fairly regularly too. A quick scan of banggood suggests there's a lot of fpv stuff under $200 so I can kind of afford to buy a cheapy to learn with then something decent if I decide to keep at it. It's the "proper" ones where people are shipping 2-3kg of powered glider to neptune every year that scares me. Albeit their cameras and uplinks are where a lot of the money goes, and I'm definitely not in the $10k camera market.

159:

Neptune the sea god!

(Have been trying to figure out what the planet had to do with it since I read that post.)

160:

Neptune is a keen photographer but doesn't like buying his own cameras.

162:

Now Trump and his army of conspiracy narrative generators (and their allies) will probably attempt a story blaming both Russia and China.

I don't think that's possible within their psychology. Since "the liberals" accused Donald Trump of getting help from Russia during the election, and made other accusations about Russia, it's not acceptable to criticize Russia. Anyone who does blame Russia for anything is working for "the left" and can't be trusted.

China, sure, China can be blamed for anything, with no facts required.

To quote Saturday Night Live:
Kate McKinnon as Clinton: “He says climate change is a hoax invented by China.”
Alec Baldwin as Trump: “It’s pronounced ‘Jina’.”

163:

That's what I thought - until I realized that the vaccines were not expected to finish testing for children until ~10/21, though some sources incline earlier.

Except, with nigh complete disregard of safety precautions, the Dakotas are, afaik, ahead of schedule for herd immunity by 6/21. Assuming half, roughly, of the population ignores safety precautions and catches the virus, then getting to herd immunity at 40% seems doable.

164:

Bit free with his kisses, though. And doesn't even ask.

165:

I think the Oringator is there. He's really terrified, knowing that, starting with NY, they are going to put him in jail.

AND, while they're working on it in court, they're going to freeze all his grifted money, since a lot of that is illegal out the wazoo.

Reports yesterday or Fri are that he's considering bringing back the wacko woman lawyer, and she's pushing things that, according to a headline I read, had Giuliani shaking in fear.

I'll also note that the Secretary of the Army and the Chief general? posted things saying explicitly that it was not for the military to interfere in a US election, which was an in-your-face to Trumpolini that they *will* refuse an illegal order, that being their right and duty.

166:

Scotland? Nope. They're already looking to make an official order to the Orange Organization to explain where money is coming from.

Actually, the one that strikes me as possible is Macao.

Or... Abkhazia or South Ossetia. They may be recognized by Russia. They are "states with limited or no recognition" (see the wikipedia article). I'm well aware of them, because I needed several for a story I wrote a month or two ago... oddly enough, where someone with *zillions* of dollars might run, to escape a follow-on-to-the-UN who wanted to tax them into the middle class (you know, millionaires from trillionaires)....

167:

Sorry, you're far, far too insular. You should get out more. I guarantee that folks in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan consider themselves midwesterners.

And being from PA, I really dislike "rust belt", given our iron and steel built the US. How about "the unionized north and northeast who the union-hating right wing ultrawealthy broke by moving their industries, first to the non-union South, then out-of-country"?

168:

Right.The VP has *very* few duties.

169:

Nope. The real issue is that rural areas have a *lot* more representation than urban ones. In the beginning, it was to keep the rural majority from being ridden over roughshod by the cities. But given that 83% of us now live in urban areas, the folks of Montana have more representation than I do - more Reps per population (due to Congress, scores of years ago, having limited the size of the House). And they've got the same number of Senators I do... and their population is about that of Baltimore city.

170:

He's trying one more appeal to the Supreme Court, to overturn PA. Unfortunately, with 306 votes in the Electoral College, he still loses, even if they did (which they won't).

Melania: as I said 3 years ago: she signed up to be the trophy wife of a billionaire, not in the miniscule bubble of First Lady. I'm more than surprised that her lawyers haven't found an out yet for a divorce.

171:

RE: Trump. Yes, he's spiraling, but...

You notice it's all about his bullshit again? Bannon even had a term for this: flooding the zone with bullshit.

Focus on Solarwind, or try to sort out what's going on with Warp Speed and whether the vaccines roll out as needed. Or on the Republicans, who are precisely what the aspiring author needs to use as models for updated orcs, thralls, and bad guy toadies.

But don't help him flood the zone. That's just a distraction. As always.

Dude's screwed come 1/20, and we just need to help melt a proper-sized hole in his ego to watch him glibber and meep in distress.*

*Apologies to the ghouls out there, actually, for that comparison. It was uncultured of me.

172:

IQ45: the feds *will* go after him. They *have* to - esp. the crap he's pulled the last few months of trying to disestablish the election and its results.

The list of other things.... A future GOP President could pardon him, but he'd be in fed, if not state, forever.

173:

Yes! And almost nobody's being interested.

Hell, in less than a month, we got rubble from an asteroid, and from the Moon.

Oh, I know, it's because the US didn't do it....

I don't care if China or Russia buys PanAm and sets up a shuttle to the Wheel....

174:

"Have there not been warnings shouted from the rooftops for about 130 years that this is going to happen?"

Er, no. 40 years, maybe, if you're pushing it. I know people like to claim much earlier beginnings, but when I was at school the climate worry was that we were overdue for the glaciers to come back; just possibly, increasing CO2 levels might save us from that, but we'd be very lucky if it made enough difference, and realistically our best chance was that "overdue" meant "it will be some time in the next ten thousand years or so" so we could hope that none of us nor our proximate descendants would be alive to see it happen. That is, as long as we managed to avoid accelerating the process by inducing a nuclear winter.

"Nothing in 2020 was even slightly surprising."

Trump losing the election was. Both in terms of it actually happening, and in terms of it being a good thing, against the trend of several years where everything that happened was a bigger pile of shit than the last thing. What is surprising is that it doesn't seem to have cheered anyone up all that much.

Apart from that, though, I do agree with the basic proposition, that the "submarine" image really does not fit. It was overall a shit year and there was no reason to have expected it to be otherwise.

175:

Herd immunity cannot be achieved without vaccination.

It's a term of art from veterinary science; the point of "herd immunity" is to determine how much you need to vaccinate. (If you're trying to catch ALL the free-range ungulates, you have a much worse job than if you only need to catch four-fifths.)

Really; not even with smallpox, where you could only get it once. SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus; you probably don't stay immune more than about three years, even if you had a severe case.

176:

Oh I get out plenty. Relations that started in Detroit and some who went back. I guess it still sticks in my craw that they acted surprised that we wore shoes on other than Sunday morning.

I spend 7 years in Pittsburgh in the 80s.

Rust belt it is.

I was back in Pittsburgh a few years ago for 3 days visiting old haunts with my wife. It is so sad. While there is a big new vibrant feel to the tech areas there is a huge amount of, well, rust and total decay. Go drive around Braddock some day and tell me how the vibrant shopping area of the 50s is now. Just don't do it after dark. Or just go watch the HBO (I think) documentary. And I didn't just drop by. I worked in an office literally just over the hill for 7 years. And I watched them dismantle the J&L mill the time while I was there. Or at least the part on the east side of the river. They west side was bull dozed after I left. It is now a Yuppie paradise.

Yes steel mills build the US of the 40s, 50s, and into the 60s. But then they messed it up. Totally. Management and labor.

177:

*double sigh*

The only time I've been off-continent is when my ex, stepson, and I went to the UK in '14 for Worldcon, and touristing. Drove through Llanberis Pass, by Snowdon. Walked a little in Llanberis, but not a fraction of what I wanted.

The next year, I had one knee partially replaced, and the year after, '16, I had the other one partially replaced.

I would *loved* to have climbed Snowdon.

178:

@45: I was just assuming that America seems roughly evenly split between Republican and Democrat (to a first approximation).

That's about right from what I remember of obsessively reading election news reports. More to the point, and from what I remember (haven't found a citation yet), the Democrats and Republicans each claim a bit under 40% of the electorate, with 20+% claiming either a minor party (Libertarian, Green) or no party affiliation.

That 20% is what wins elections. The problem is that these aren't all high-minded folks that won't follow any herd. They are, in many cases, just completely indifferent to politics. It's really hard to capture their attention, and nearly impossible to determine in advance whether or how they'll vote.

The 2020 election was remarkable for voter turnout - approximately 150 million voted, about 2/3 of the voting age public. The (abysmal) normal voting turnout in a Presidential election hovers around 50%; off-year elections are regularly closer to 40%. To quote Thomas Jefferson, "[t]he goverment you elect is the one you deserve."

179:

Not quite all over everywhere. For example, I know that one or two parts of the NIH weren't affected.

180:

Oh, I know, it's because the US didn't do it....

Ah, yes we did. It just hasn't made it back yet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSIRIS-REx#Sample_acquisition

181:

Not four - two, though. Not all Senators are up for re-election on the same year, so some every two years. Congress, on the other hand, most of it.

182:

For Boris, better to crash out and blame problems on coronavirus than get the terms on offer. For EU, same. So,no real motivation for a deal.

183:

Re GOP and primaries... y'know, the big thing will be that those not utterly invested in Trumpolini will see the vaccines rolling out, in a reasonable order, under Biden.

Metro areas, esp, will REALLY REMEMBER that right now, there are headlines that metro areas are not getting the vaccines they're supposed to be getting - and we're talking *MILLIONS* of doses.

There will, however, as IQ 45 starts losing the legal battles and heads towards jail and *real* bankruptcy, I predict a huge civil war within the party as to who runs it. Given that Q, and apparently others, are saying they're going to destroy the GOP, that will get really, really ugly next year, while the Idiot's fighting jail and losing most of his money (or having it frozen).

184:

When I took first year geology during the first Reagan administration my lab TA was a geophysics PhD student whose thesis involved "Ok, say Freeman Dyson is right and human activity raises the temperature of the planet by 3 C" modelling; more trying to figure out if it was possible to model this than what we'd call modelling today.

Predictions for Ontario included "too wet to grow rice" and suggestions about getting started on a bullrush cultivar right away. (You can eat bullrush roots. You have to be meaningfully hungry and know what you're doing, but you can eat them. Presumably some selective breeding could improve the utility of doing so.)

The "CO2 is a greenhouse gas" has been around since the late 19th; as public consciousness, it didn't get anywhere what with the fear of nuclear annihilation. But people with a professional concern did know from at least the 70s in a "the back of this envelope is scaring me, I suggest some research" way; the 80s petrocorp predictions have been remarkably accurate. There are arguments for natural gas in the 70s that used "less CO2" as part of the reason to prefer it to oil distillates, come to that.

185:

Heteromeles @171: But don't help him flood the zone. That's just a distraction. As always.

Fully agree. I've seen a number of editorials to that point recently, aimed both at the public and within the press. Just. Stop. Paying. Attention. To. Him.

If the mainstream (real) media stop parroting his babbling, and most of us just get on with trying to survive a pandemic and rescuing the folks imperiled by it, we'll have plenty to do without listening to the rantings of a deranged narcissist EX-president.

Plus, you know, we've a few other concerns, like keeping most of the surface of the Earth habitable for humans and other mammals, not turning the oceans to fuming acid baths, keeping the 1% from owning EVERYTHING, frustrating the ambitions of the Middle Kingdom, and dealing with the machinations of a certain ex-KGB agent.

All so Charlie can keep writing in peace.

186:

The issue has never come up, but I would assume that an ex-President could refuse or release Secret Service assigned to him. I'd expect him to want his buddies that he had to let go the first year he was in office.

187:

Bill Gates - I've already seen a pic on facepalm of Gates in a comfy chair reading "Microchipping Soccer Moms for Dummies".

188:

whitroth @187: Only if the microchips run Windows.

189:

Right, but the last month, and two probes.....

190:

when I was at school the climate worry was that we were overdue for the glaciers to come back; just possibly, increasing CO2 levels might save us from that,

That was never a scientific consensus. I recall it being seen as a fossil scam by some of my elders in the 1970's, and definitely by the 1980's it marked you as a shill.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

191:

@Dave P: going for the swing voters is the traditional strategy, but with the low participation rates the other is to rouse your parties' base and discourage the other sides' base. It worked in 2016 enough to become well-known though there were definitely shades of it in previous US elections.

192:

whitroth @186: A number of the Secret Service agents protecting ex-Presidents have become quite close to their charges, and vice versa. George H. W. Bush was noted for his rapport with his detail.

Just imagine what a shit detail guarding El Cheeto Grand is going to be. You'd either have to be a True Believer, or have really screwed up, to be handed that assignment.

193:

Missed this from a couple of days ago. It's a really above-and-beyond typo, perhaps Freudian.
Lin Wood Signs Georgia Lawsuit ‘Under Plenty of Perjury’ (Colin Kalmbacher, Dec 19th, 2020)
Attorney L. Lin Wood filed a pro se lawsuit in Georgia federal court on Friday with an apparent typo that raised legal eyebrows online.
Just before his signature block on the final page of the lawsuit is the following verification section [emphasis added]:


Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1746, I declare and verify under plenty of perjury that the facts contained in the foregoing Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief are true and correct.

Lin Wood is a nutter Trump supporter on Trump's election challenge legal team; without burning too many brain cells, this appear to be a complaint about the use of "unreliable and comprised Dominion voting machines" and something in the US Constitution - “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.”. A serious long game by whoever named the Republican Party in the 19th Century. :-) (Dominion machines make a paper ballot printout that voters can verify, I've read, and these can and were recounted with no substantive changes to the numbers.)

The actual document (pdf)

194:

"If you feel like updating me with your predictions for 2021 in the comments below, though, go right ahead."

How likely do they have to be? I've got one or two good ones.

The north of Scotland decides it wants Canada back. Iceland is not happy.

Trump buys the Falklands for a retreat, but on arrival he finds the Argentinians have got there first. He runs away from them, falls into a bog, and is eaten by a family of penguins, using knives and forks and wearing napkins round their necks.

Cthulhu rises, but forgets to stop rising, and ends up in space, where the vacuum causes him to explode, initiating a Kessler cascade. All subsequent attempts at launching space vehicles result in the spaceship being transformed into a squid.

The upper Danube is captured by the Rhine, as a result of snowmelt finally flushing out an obstruction restricting the underground watercourse. It is black and slimy, about 2 kilometres long, with far too many eyeballs and an assortment of sucker mouths with poisonous teeth.

Another new plague arises. It can only reproduce in cells with the melanin-deficiency mutation, and causes people to develop brow ridges, prognathous jawlines, body hair, and prehensile feet. A vaccine is rapidly developed, based on retroviral gene therapy to reverse the mutation; areas like the southern US suffer a secondary plague of exploding heads.

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords are globally declared to be the only acceptable basis for a system of government. The results are, on average, no better or worse than any other arrangement, but there is less argument about it.

Peter Jackson is eaten by a Balrog.

195:

Yeah, probable gilding of lilies there, but by 1912 it had hit the popular press.

"COAL CONSUMPTION AFFECTING CLIMATE.

The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is. burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries."

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/rodney-and-otamatea-times-waitemata-and-kaipara-gazette/1912/8/14/7

Half way down the third column.

They didn't really understand exponential growth of consumption. It would have been several centuries if they'd kept emissions at 1912 levels.

It's 55 years since President Johnson warned Congress.

“This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”

196:

The 1912 article is a partial reprint (shameless plagiarism?) of a slightly earlier Popular Mechanics article that is appallingly racist, even by the standards of the era (ie, at the same time Australian police were conducting massacres), that I won't link to.

197:

I was actually taught that we were approaching the end of an interglacial period, as estimated from the periodicity of previous glaciations, albeit with some uncertainty because they weren't perfectly regular and nobody really knew what caused the actual flip into glaciation. Human activity didn't come into it, being on much too small a scale to affect anything as massive as the whole planet; the notion that CO2 might avert it was presented as being theoretically possible since it was a factor that pushed the other way, but not something you could tie your hopes to, and certainly not as a defence of fossil fuels, which were going to run out soon anyway and we needed to get seriously into nuclear power, energy efficiency, and the odd bit of renewable where it was practical although it mostly wasn't on any kind of scale.

198:

Predictions for 2021.

For the first few weeks people will write the date incorrectly.

Rupert Murdoch will die, to the sound of much rejoicing. Whoever claims control after the short war in the ensuing power vacuum will be even more swivel eyed crazy. There will be a bunch of rash decisions that will eventually collapse the Murdoch evil empire but not before the entire world (including the scientific publishing industry) is completely unshackled from reality.

Civil war in the USA (obviously). Probably started by whoever gets control of the Murdoch empire.

Brexit doesn't turn out to be as bad as expected because thousands of unsung logistics experts work 80 hour weeks for months.

The BJ claims credit for Brexit success.

Someone starts a rumour that electric vehicles cause cancer or cooties. The zombie Murdoch press takes it up as a cause and EV drivers are pulled from their cars and hacked to death to much applause from the onlookers and press. Several people are "tragically" electrocuted while vandalising DC fast chargers.

Things, important things, will happen in Africa. No one in the west will hear anything about it.

Some large chunk of ice falls into the sea and the sea level rises 10cm overnight. No one believes this has happened. Even the people standing in their flooded homes will deny that it happened.

Elon Musk will offer to carry telescopes to space for free.

199:

he 1912 article is a partial reprint (shameless plagiarism?) of a slightly earlier Popular Mechanics article that is appallingly racist, even by the standards of the era (ie, at the same time Australian police were conducting massacres), that I won't link to.

OK. How about the year and issue number?

201:

I got utterly hooked on science fiction when was around 11 years old and discovered Analog magazine. This would have been around 64/65. The cover story was a 4 part serial about first contact. It sucked me in. Totally. And was utterly racist. And I recognized it. But still I was hooked on sci fi.

202:

I was actually taught that we were approaching the end of an interglacial period,

We were; we are. I can't remember if 1890-1900 or 1880-1890 was the coldest decade in the historical record, but, yeah, the Holocene was probably toast no matter what.

On the other hand, Freeman Dyson, pre-emeritus, got interested in the question in the 1970s and at that time could make a pretty straightforward calculation for how much warming went with how much CO2.

I still find it interesting that the 80s oil company predictions were so accurate -- they didn't have better computers, though I suppose they might have had much better core samples -- and that "you know, Milankovitch cycles are a tiny effect, we should assume high sensitivity" didn't happen. People had to spend a couple decades hammering the question of sensitivity into a condition of nigh-certainty.

It really does look like some narrowly defined short-term self interest managed to shape a lot of the general access to knowledge on this subject.

203:

80s oil company predictions were so accurate -- they didn't have better computers, though I suppose they might have had much better core samples

And echo maps. A friend knows an oil company seismologist who after working with the 3D maps they have generated over the year totally gave up on Young Earth Creationism. You just don't have river valleys and plains under 5 miles of rock and a 10K year old earth. He would talk about them with friends but it was all proprietary so he couldn't make them public.

204:

Dunno about frustrating the Middle Kingdom. My impression is that the CCP is mostly focused on making China prosperous enough to stay in power when the incoming geriatric boom occasioned by the one child policy hits. If anything, their investment history in the Third World is considerably more benign than, say, the US. Same with their approach to climate change. If anything, I want them to succeed, as a billion Chinese people stuck on a coal economy will be problematic.

Now, there is a real worry about what happens when the dollar stops being a reserve currency and smart people stop wanting to immigrate to the US. Bereft of young technicals and taking a maybe 15% economic from losing reserve status, there may be some instability from the US on the way down. But, I suspect China will avoid a war with the US, owing to nukes, and simply carry on.

I do think people are underestimating lond COVID - risking heart issues would be enough for me to keep kids home an extra year. Combined with the extra lead time for testing in adolescents, meh, I just wanted to share my personal upcoming headache.

205:

Niala
If the new C-19 strain is "out" in Denmark, then it WILL spread across the rest of Europe ...

Graydon
Yesssss .... I wonder how well the Cretinist idiots' propaganda agin "Evil-lution" will hold up after this?
Given that their lies are even plainer to see?

whitroth
Ooooh, yes please? The Scottish lawyers are instituting an "Unexplained Wealth Order" against IQ45?
You could sell popcorn for that one.

Pigeon
Wrong "Peter"
P Theil is eaten by a Balrog

AND, of course, today IS The Solstice & it's piddling with rain ......
Won't be able to see the Grand Conjunction, meh.

206:

"I still find it interesting that the 80s oil company predictions were so accurate -- they didn't have better computers"

If you mean better than now, then no. But they had absolutely the best money could buy at the time.

207:

The popular articles in the early 20th Century about global warming were based on the work of Svante Arrhenius, who basically invented the field of physical chemistry. In 1896 he figured out that CO2 was what we now call a greenhouse gas, and that each doubling of CO2 would cause a constant increase in temperature. He also made the first rough estimate of the temperature sensitivity as part of an investigation into whether this might explain ice ages (his estimate was high by a factor of about 3). This led to the Popular Mechanics article in 1912 (things happened slower back then), which noted that even at the level of emissions in those days CO2 concentration would double in around 200 years.

[[ html link fixed - mod ]]

208:

Ahh dammit. Write out 100 times "I will always click Preview. I will always click Preview..."

209:

Chinese history over the next few decades is going to be interesting to watch from a safe distance.

The trouble with autocratic regimes, no matter how competent and well-intentioned they start, is that over time the elite who allocate resources start to allocate an increasing share to themselves. Part of these resources are educational and status opportunities for their offspring; the "red princes" get the best education and are then parachuted into plum jobs regardless of ability.

In consequence the elite lose understanding of the society they are ruling; the people change, but the ruling elite does not. The stratification and hypocrisy become more visible. The ruling elite respond by trying to prevent change. They also become resistant to innovation because every innovation threatens someone, and everyone has a veto on change.

Thus the system becomes top-heavy, sclerotic and inflexible. Eventually there is a crisis of legitimacy in which the proletariat revolt in a way that the elite are unable to respond to, and the system is replaced by something else.

The one thing that democracy has going for it is that this inevitable crisis of legitimacy occurs in a system which is designed to handle it; people vote for a modified system which fixes whatever was wrong with the previous system, without the need for violent revolution.

(The above is cribbed from Fukuyama's "The End of History".)

I'm less pessimistic than Fukuyama about the future. In particular I don't see liberal democracy as being the end state; I'm quite sure that something better will come along. However that something is likely to be as unimaginable to us as our modern liberal democracy would have been to a 16th century Leveller. However I suspect that open source software (and knowledge more generally) might be something to do with it. In the knowledge economy, proprietary knowledge does not seem to be stable.

210:

Predictions for the next year.

1. Brexit is a slow-motion train crash. All sorts of unexpected shortages in critical industries crop up due to problems with trade in obscure commodities and products. The chemical industry is particularly prone to this, but it won't be the only one. The government is overloaded, trying to handle both the national vaccination programme and the reinvention an entire regulatory apparatus that was previously done by the EU. Emergency deregulation becomes the order of the day because there isn't time to do anything else. The EU has similar problems but on a smaller scale.

2. Consumer products start to vanish from the shops, seemingly at random. E.g. you suddenly can't buy drinks in boxes because the plastic liner that stops the box going soggy requires some additive made by some company that can't get a vital ingredient because the only company that makes it is on the other side of the Channel, and its no longer considered "approved".

3. Emergency deregulation leads to a series of what would in other circumstances be considered major scandals; babies and children poisoned, ecological disasters, that kind of thing.

4. Boris gets kicked out of the PM job. Sunak gets bought in as a safe pair of hands. Sunak resolves the crisis by basically agreeing to all EU demands in exchange for a free trade deal. The upshot is that we take on board all EU regulations indefinitely, but have no say in them.

5. Meanwhile Scotland holds an unofficial independence referendum. The result is 75% in favour. Sunak tries to ignore this, but eventually has to concede. Scotland then votes to rejoin the EU.

6. Wales holds a referendum in which it also votes to leave the UK and join the EU.

7. Yorkshire holds a referendum....

8. Greater London holds a referendum in which it votes to leave the UK and become an independent city state, a-la Singapore.

9. The rump of England votes to rejoin the EU.

10. The Queen abdicates. Prince Charles mumbles something. Prince William declares that he doesn't want to be King, and certainly wouldn't wish the job on his eldest child.

211:

Selective but not entirely wrong. The queues were growing as everyone and their haulage contractor is trying to get as much as possible across the Channel before the end of the month, they're now at a complete standstill. "Get ready for Brexit" says the government adverts, "HOW?!?!?" is th universal reply.

212:

The Secret Service detail is another factor in possible destinations for the orange one. The UK has only reluctantly allowed them to go armed since Reagan visited and rumour has it the police firearms units instructions run along the lines of "First sign of trouble, take out the bodyguards".

213:

Elon Musk will offer to carry telescopes to space for free.

That one wouldn't actually surprise me. Bolt a few Starlink frames together keeping the control systems, engine and solar panel from one of them and you could fit a respectable sized telescope in the volume.

214:

Thanks for that. The only good description I had found previously was in German. Just to be cheerful, it is possible that COVID may be worse in 2021 than 2020. May you live in interesting times!

215:

Yes, you can, and we used to with the 'childhood diseases', with things like measles parties; the point is that what 'herd immunity' really means is that a sporadic infection will die out and not become an epidemic, and that can be done by deliberately infecting people under conditions they will almost certainly develop lifetime immunity without serious problems. However, for reasons that have been very poorly explained to the masses, it is very unlikely that any form of 'herd immunity' is achievable for this virus.

216:

I started with basically the same question not long ago and haven't really answered it satisfactorily yet.

I ended up focusing on learning to fly first. My experience is that flying something "over there" is very different to flying something you are sitting in, even virtually. So I have started with software. There's a flight sim specifically for RC flight called Real Flight, a name that strikes me as recursively ironic but there you go. It comes either as software only, or with a USB controller that physically resembles the Spektrum branded transmitters. It's really part of the Horizon Hobby/Spektrum ecosystem.

There's a school of thought that goes you learn the most from crashing, so you should just jump in with an actual plane, crash early and crash often. This means that there are many beginner packs with ready-to-fly (RTF) pusher-prop models made for hand launching and belly landings. The competing school of thought is that you should learn on the sim first: you can crash as often and as spectacularly as you like then without spending money on things that end up broken (and high speed crashes really can obliterate planes). The sim is kinda reasonable fun and after a few weeks, I still haven't gone and got a physical model. Maybe in the new year: my first plane is likely to be some sort of trainer. The models I have in mind are both E-flite: the 1.5m wingspan Apprentice STS or the 1.2m Mini Apprentice S (E-flite is a Horizon Hobby brand and so part of the aforementioned ecosystem).

As far as cameras go, there's a difference between FPV flying, where the emphasis is on low latency, and using cameras for photography and videography. They are not mutually exclusive and can be combined. If you google "site:au FPV" you mostly get resellers (worth wading through and making sense of the product listings) but also some forums (and a page from CASA that's probably worth reading). There are digital FPV cameras (really single-board computers that have cameras on board too) that can record HD to SD card. There are also planes with multiple designed-in camera mounting points: e.g. see the E-flite Opterra. I got quite excited about the possibilities that model seems to open, but there are some regulatory downers that might make it a bit limited. I've sort of put off getting deeper into that till I've learned to fly, and spent some time flying (line of sight) with a local club.

There are competing radio control protocols, transmitters are basically the UI computer (most have screens for displaying telemetry and programming), some run an open platform or open source OSes while others are semi-closed ecosystems (like the Horizon Hobby ecosystem). There is automatic stabilisation technology in the receivers that is of particular interest for photography/videography (google "as3x" and "aura 8"). I'm mentally comparing this with the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation available on mirrorless cameras, but I think you would consider it as providing a stable platform that would then hand over to the image stabilisation in a modern Go Pro or similar camera. The RC people say it makes small planes fly like larger planes - something my experience in the sim backs up. Smaller planes are harder to control in higher winds, as3x helps a lot with that. The receivers that do as3x also have a thing called SAFE, which is worth reading about separately (I find I turn it off in the sim, but I can see how it would be helpful in the real).

Strangely important, even though it might sound a bit trivial, is that you need to decide whether you want to fly Mode 1 (left stick is elevator and rudder, right stick is throttle and ailerons) or Mode 2 (left stick is throttle and rudder, right stick is elevator and ailerons). Usually the stick that controls the elevator is sprung so it self-centres when you take your thumb off, while the stick that controls the throttle does not. Some transmitters can be converted between modes reasonably easily, but some cannot. It seems to be mostly the mid range that can be converted, and I guess that makes some sense. Mode 1 is the norm in the UK, Australia and NZ, while Mode 2 is the norm everywhere else. It seems that you can't tell which you'll be more comfortable with until you've tried each for long enough to get good at it.

The regulatory environment is important to check out. The rules in Australia are changing, and licensing and registration is being phased in over the next couple of years. There's also a federal-state-local layering situation to consider: there are places that would be fine as far as CASA is concerned but are not allowed by the LGA. So I can talk to Brisbane, which I know, but it'll be different depending on your local council. Brisbane parks allow anything up to 500g flying weight (which is the threshold for requiring registration and a licence from CASA), but they have a gazette of authorised "drone launching areas" where the limit is 1kg.

There is a separate regime for clubs: local clubs must be institutional members of one of the handful of CASA-registed national clubs. But then you get access to the club's flyings area, with more liberal weight restrictions (2kg is common but it can be higher). The national clubs also give members a form of 3rd party liability insurance, though often the benefit of the club is that it's not open to the public. National parks have their own rules and you'd need to check the parks and wildlife service responsible for the one you're interested in. In general flying over people, vehicles and roads is prohibited (30m distance, taken from the plane's ground track).

So I've probably not answered your question adequately, I've just tried to explain where I've gone from starting with more or less the same question. I haven't found a how-to guide for "fixed wing photography/videography". It does seem like drones have most of the mindshare for that (there are some great looking ones). The FPV world includes fixed wing and drones. Starting with FPV might work out for you, depending on what you want to use cameras for. That most likely means reading through the FPV forums and chatting with people there. I have seen YouTube posts by people who've stuck small cameras on the aforementioned belly-landing pusher-prop models, so a lot of things are possible. You could check the YouTube channel from a group in the US called Flite Test, they do see interesting things (including build-from-scratch).

217:

GW & Paul on Arrhenius:
GW was already noted by the famous ecologist Rachel Carson.
I have a copy of her The Edge of the Sea ( 1955 ) & she specifically mentions the gradual rising of temperatures, then.

Regarding sclerotic systems: That's a perfect description of Austria-Hungary - the irony is that Prince/Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a reformer - he wanted to bring others inside .... And, of course, Democracy only works if it actually works & isn't subject to special-interest & regulatory capture, as has has almost happened in the USA ( The next 8 years will tell ) & here ( The next 4 years will tell )

Paul
1: Euratom is the one to watch, there - I suspect the EU Medicines Agency will get a free pass in current circs. Next up could be Europol.
3: Hadn't thought of that one - good pick. Except we can expect a slow-burn-to-fizzle-to-bury. [ As with "Grenfell" ]
4: Probably - though the ERG fuckheads will go (even more) bonkers
10. NOT EVER. She might - will, in fact, continue handing over parts to Chas & William.
Oh & I suspect London might be second, not fourth!

EC
Yes - it's a "coronavirus" ( Surprise! ) - as is the Common Cold, oops.

218:

More countries join the new virus club. In addition to Denmark and South Africa the WSJ now reports the Netherlands and Belgium as being hosts to the new COVID-19 strain.

It's a bit further down in their article on the UK:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-lockdowns-prompt-travel-bans-to-block-new-covid-19-strain-11608469676

219:

Democracy only works if it actually works & isn't subject to special-interest & regulatory capture

True, but take a look at the USA in the Gilded Age.

Massive new industries created billionaires, with large sections of the economy effectively captured by them. They then translated this into control of the government. Things reached crisis point with the Great Depression, and the result was a democratic revolution in the form of the New Deal in the USA and the Welfare State in the UK.

In the UK of course the cycle then repeated during the 1960s, with the government co-opting the unions to create a new ruling elite, leading to a sclerotic and inflexible economy in the 1970s, which was then broken up by the Thatcher revolution of the 1980s. Now of course the cycle is repeating yet again, and I anticipate that at some point in the next decade or two we will see a new New Deal in the USA and a revitalisation of the Welfare State, probably involving some kind of Universal Basic Income, in the UK. (And probably similarly in other countries too).

220:

That's quite an article, and thanks for the link.

Remarkable Weather of 1911
The Effect of the Combustion of Coal on the Climate -- What Scientists Predict for the Future
By Francis Molena
Popular Mechanics
March 1912
Pages 339-342

221:

I saw De Santis in Florida deciding that one dose would be enough, in order to stretch supplies. Perhaps that's what gave you that impression.

(That's my sister's local paper, which is worrying. On the other hand we've just gone from Tier 2 to a newly invented Tier 4 so she's probably worrying about me. At least I finally got a 'flu jab yesterday morning.)

222:

You are dead right - I just couldn't remember which Austrian it was.

223:

I wonder if Macron isn't using the Covid mutant strain as an excuse to put pressure on the British negociators.

This 48-hour-or-more blockage of lorry traffic just before Christmas seems to be designed to cause food shortages at a moment when they would have maximum visibility. It would make a great "This is what no-deal Brexit will be like, sure you don't want to budge?" publicity.

224:

Paul
Provided - ( In the USA ) that the rethuglicans don't suceed in really, actually limiting the franchise, as they are determined to do - it seems - which can only end very badly indeed.

Nemonowan
Indeed
But, as noted it's bolting-the-stable-door time, given that "new variant" is known to be "out & about" in Belgium & Denmark

I note that the v sensible idea of continuing negotiations has been rubbished by Giant Schnapps, presumably on orders from BoZo

225:

My first reaction to the news was that brexit had come early.

226:

Re:' ... if Macron isn't using the Covid mutant strain as an excuse '

Nope - other non-EU countries have also announced they don't want any travelers from the UK. I wonder if/how this will apply to the super-rich who've been globe trotting on their personal jets.

228:

Graydon noted: "Herd immunity cannot be achieved without vaccination."

Yes, but only if you revise that as "achieved ethically". If enough people die, then by definition, only resistant individuals survive. At some point, the odds of transmission from the remaining infected individuals drop low enough that people are still dying, but at low rates. But it's important to remember that herd immunity is a population-level phenomenon, and doesn't mean that a given individual will necessarily survive. Trump and Bojo seem focused on "weed out the weak" rather than the ethical approach.

More info on "one dose": I think I probably got my impression that the Moderna vaccine required only one dose from posts like this one: https://twitter.com/findingpneumo/status/1339556859473227778

That is, if you can get 90% immunity with the first dose, you can focus on ensuring that everyone gets a first dose before worrying about providing a second dose to improve their odds. It makes sense from an epidemiological perspective (i.e., reduce the overall rate of spread NOW, by 90%). But front-line personnel should be rewarded for their sacrifices by giving them priority for second doses. If we lose enough doctors and nurses and their support staff, things will get even uglier, and fast.

229:

Earlier today I wrote: I don't see liberal democracy as being the end state; I'm quite sure that something better will come along.

Of course, this is exactly the right place to ask what that something better will look like; a bunch of smart knowledgeable (or at least, well-read) people who seem to have little emotional attachment to the current system and are used to thinking out of the box.

Will it be fully automated luxury communism, like Star Trek and The Culture? Or will it be something else?

Two hundred years ago most people worked on or around the land. One hundred years ago most people in "the West" worked in factories. Today most of them work in offices doing stuff that would have looked ridiculously unproductive just a century ago. Where will most people be spending their productive hours in another century, and what will "productive" look like?

How will resources be allocated? Will there be money? What will it look like and how will it be controlled? Who gets it, and how do they get it?

How will the big decisions be taken? Will there be a government? What will government look like? Will the nation state still be a significant concept in world affairs? What about super-national assemblages like the EU?

I don't much care what the future lacks as long as it isn't food and shelter, so "no billionaires" is a boring answer. I want to know how it works. I always do. Whenever I visit a stately home I don't much care about the suits of armour and massive paintings of the third duke's wife, I want to know how below-stairs operated, which things were done in-house and which were outsourced, and what the cash-flow looked like.

230:

those not utterly invested in Trumpolini will see the vaccines rolling out, in a reasonable order, under Biden

I'm on several Republican mailing lists*. The vaccines were apparently created in America by Operation Warp Speed, which was set up by the far-sighted President Trump to save America and American Free Enterprise from the threat of Chinese Communism and Antifa.

Given this, and the reaction of Fox viewers when Fox posted retractions to false claims made on their programs, I suspect that a considerable proportion of your compatriots are "utterly invested in Trumpolini".


*Apparently at least one Robert Prior in America is a right-winger, and he keeps giving my email address when subscribing to stuff, so I see what the Republicans are telling their supporters (and potential supporters).

231:

It makes sense from an epidemiological perspective (i.e., reduce the overall rate of spread NOW, by 90%).

The available mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 are not known to reduce spread.

That's the difference between a sterilising vaccine -- you don't get the disease, and you can't infect others with the disease -- and a functional vaccine -- you will not become severely ill with the disease.

Neither vaccine was tested for anything other than "prevents severe symptoms". We don't know if you can still spread the disease or if you are still at risk of long-term organ damage as has been observed in asymptomatic cases. Prudent planning presumes "yes" to both questions.

232:

Not a submarine but still.
https://www.npr.org/2020/12/21/948715787/hawaiis-kilauea-volcano-erupts-on-big-island

Anyone see that ridiculous movie "2012"?

233:

Graydon noted: "The available mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 are not known to reduce spread."

Fair enough. It seems *likely* that vaccination will reduce the spread, on the logic that less-severe symptoms means a lower viral load due to the immune system's response and thus less virus to spread. But as you note, there's no data yet to support that hypothesis.

234:

The reason the second wave of 1917 Spanish Flu was so lethal is that the military had inadvertently selected for virulence. Minor cases stayed put, while severe cases were shipped off to field hospitals where they infected lots of others.

This time round we have been doing the opposite. Moderate and severe cases get isolated, while minor sniffles or asymptomatic cases carry on more or less as usual.

Of course there is also strong pressure for contagiousness, just like always. We're probably making that even stronger by keeping the R number s close to 1.

So the emergence of a more contagious strain is unsurprising. Logically, it should also be less virulent.

235:

If enough people die, then by definition, only resistant individuals survive. At some point, the odds of transmission from the remaining infected individuals drop low enough that people are still dying, but at low rates.

That's not herd immunity. (I invite you to try to get "stock is still dying, just not very much" past your local set of agricultural regulations.)

"Herd immunity" is "hasn't got the disease, it's not circulating, it is locally extirpated because it's got nowhere to live".

Actual capitalists act like Singapore; what you're describing is mammonite corpse-fucker fantasies of infinite free labour; not even slavery, outright zero-cost. Workers are fed and housed by magic, it has no meaning if they get sick, you never have to pay them, and any money they happen to have they must give you.

The political leadership of the US and UK and most of Canada are determined to act like that's true, no matter how many people die, because the alternative is to admit their god is a false god, and they're not going to do that.

236:

It seems *likely* that vaccination will reduce the spread, on the logic that less-severe symptoms means a lower viral load due to the immune system's response and thus less virus to spread.

We've known for months that SARS-CoV-2 has a (variably effective) immune system bypass, that only about fifty percent of cases are symptomatic at all, and that peak viral shedding occurs prior to onset of symptoms even in symptomatic cases. Absence of symptoms is correlated with spread in COVID-19.

All we know about either vaccine is that it prevents severe symptoms thereabouts of nineteen times out of twenty.

So no, it's not likely vaccination will by itself reduce spread. We've got no basis to suppose that happens at all. Everyone would like that to happen, but that's not even close to being the same thing.

237:

Nope - other non-EU countries have also announced they don't want any travelers from the UK. I wonder if/how this will apply to the super-rich who've been globe trotting on their personal jets.

Canada's 72 hour ban applies to all flights, commercial or private
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-flights-uk-coronavirus-1.5849598

238:

That's what I thought - until I realized that the vaccines were not expected to finish testing for children until ~10/21, though some sources incline earlier.

Vaccines for children, while important, are of lesser concern.

It is a matter of balancing risks, and even today in most cases the balance is such that going to school is the lesser of evils - not just the education, but the social interaction and the reduced risk of physical harm.

(and of course the necessity as child care)

Except, with nigh complete disregard of safety precautions, the Dakotas are, afaik, ahead of schedule for herd immunity by 6/21.

Nowhere close.

While the State level governments (well, at least the notorious South Dakota Governor) are missing in action as things got bad news reports indicate that the county/city level governments stepped up.

So if one Google's "south dakota covid graph" we can see that daily new cases peaked on November 12th and have been declining since then - so with the trends in the right direction they aren't going to hit herd immunity, or even 50%.

(the data Google is using comes from the NY Times)
(could also be worth someone investigating - coincidence or ? - both states starting to see drops after the election, when perhaps purity to Trump became less important?)

239:

A volcano is erupting for the first time since the year before last?

That's really rather minor by this year's standard.

240:

whitroth:172

IQ45: the feds *will* go after him. They *have* to - esp. the crap he's pulled the last few months of trying to disestablish the election and its results.

In an ideal world, yes.

But we aren't in an ideal world, and what is provable in court vs what we think will be a key consideration. As will a reluctance by many Democrats to create a new culture of going after the person leaving office for what many in the US will view as personal grievances (given that a substantial portion believe Trump).

The idea of falsely prosecuting and jailing opponents is already popular with the Trump/Republican base - there will be caution about turning that into a potential reality.

whitroth:173
I don't care if China or Russia buys PanAm and sets up a shuttle to the Wheel....

It will be China, as the US is forcing them by the policy of excluding them from participating in the multi-nation space projects - plus they have the stable government to ensure long term projects happen combined with the willingness to spend money.

The only thing stopping China is if the rumoured house of cards collapses.

whitroth:183
Re GOP and primaries... y'know, the big thing will be that those not utterly invested in Trumpolini will see the vaccines rolling out, in a reasonable order, under Biden.

Except at this point much of the Republican base is Trump supporting, just as in the past they went Tea Party.

And even those not dedicated to Trump will have a high number who believe in the conspiracies - and thus all the vaccines rolling out will prove to them is that the hidden liberal deep state was deliberately sabotaging the vaccine roll out to make Trump look bad.

I predict a huge civil war within the party as to who runs it. Given that Q, and apparently others, are saying they're going to destroy the GOP, that will get really, really ugly next year,

It would be nice if it happened, but I suspect it will be harder than a bunch of noisy people online expect - particularly given that the current members of the Republican Party have clearly demonstrated they are willing to be flexible to accommodate the crazies as long as they can get re-elected and give the true masters their tax breaks and/or prevent the Democrats from improving things.

241:

This one is the one that obliterated 700 homes 2 years ago.

Basically it is in the middle of where a lot of rich folk decided to live in paradise. Of course their help is stuck there also.

Not quite the same as a volcano in Manchester, UK. But in the direction of Vesuvius going off again.

242:

The regulatory environment is important to check out.

Second this, strongly.

In Canada the sRPAS regulations cover both quadcopters (drones) and model aircraft. There's a couple of carve-outs for RC models at sanctioned club fields, but generally the rules apply to all small remotely-piloted aircraft equally.

A quick look at Australian regulations seems to indicate that the presence of a camera makes a difference in where you are allowed to fly(which isn't the case in Canada), with non-camera aircraft allowed in more locations. They also seem to show that you must maintain line-of-sight at all times (also true in Canada, and we have a hard limit of 500m away*).


*Which applies even if you are part eagle and can see your aircraft well enough to control it at several km range, as claimed by a number of YouTubers.

243:

I wonder if/how this will apply to the super-rich who've been globe trotting on their personal jets.

Why would it apply to them? Laws are for the little people…

244:

Relatively speaking, I'd argue that the USA is showing more signs of instability than China. I'd agree that China will have issues, but guess that they are several generations off.

@mdive

Maybe. But the rather high incidence of cardiac issues in adult patients is concerning. A reasonable point is that we vaccinate for several known diseases with lower known risk profiles to children. I'd argue that we don't know the long-term effects of covid on children yet. (The Spanish flu had some real long term issues.). The ridiculously early studies indicating that kids weren't infectious have since proven to be...somewhere between inaccurate and misleading. The studies on cardiac issues and brain damage in children don't seem to exist yet. Perhaps this is because demonstrating a negative is hard to publish, perhaps my waking googlefu sucks. (I would love to be contradicted here.). But, one reasonable rule is that any study conclusion that people would want to believe should viewed very skeptically. Many people (business, children's advocates, parents) would love for the risk/harm balance to be in favor of sending children to school. It might be, but I am not sure that it is. For children with unvaccinated parents, I'm fairly certain it is not.

245:

But front-line personnel should be rewarded for their sacrifices by giving them priority

And Republican politicians. Don't forget them.

https://uproxx.com/viral/marco-rubio-republicans-pandemic-vaccine-twitter-reactions/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2020/12/18/disgraced-former-alabama-gov-robert-bentley-gets-covid-vaccine-before-many-frontline-workers/?sh=2c212d57f091


I rather like Takai's response to Rubio:

There are very, very few instances of known allergic reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine, but Marco Rubio has always thought of himself as one in a million so there’s still hope.

246:

Re: '... new culture of going after the person leaving office for what many in the US will view as personal grievances (given that a substantial portion believe Trump).'

However, if the authorities do not go after the person leaving office for what an even larger segment of the population believes are prosecutable offenses this will send the message to everyone that politicians have a free pass to do anything without fear of consequences.

The legal system is our sword of Damocles - we need to see it in action.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles

247:

if you are still at risk of long-term organ damage as has been observed in asymptomatic cases

Which is one of my minor nightmares. Suppose even asymptomatic infections increase risk of strokes etc. By the time we figure it out Covid is firmly endemic and most people have had it (with symptoms controlled by vaccines and/or other treatments). So long-term life expectancy goes down from increased strokes etc.

248:

Graydon noted: "Herd immunity" is "hasn't got the disease, it's not circulating, it is locally extirpated because it's got nowhere to live".

Maybe in the veterinary context, but in the human context and other contexts, it's defined as follows: "Herd immunity... is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity)

That's the definition I learned in my human medical microbiology course and in two subsequent plant pathology cources (though with a different name).

In terms of whether vaccines are likely to reduce spread, or not, we'll have to agree to disagree until we have data. My knowledge of disease spread (see above) is that spread occurs when the combination of infection probabilty and the dose of inoculum exceeds a certain threshold. That is, highly infectious pathogens require a lower dose to infect, whereas low-infectious organisms require a higher dose. If a vaccine reduces the organism's ability to infect (because the immune system clobbers the pathogen first) or reduces replication of the pathogen (so that fewer propagules are available to infect), it will also reduce the spread. We'll see how that works for covid-19.

249:

Robert Prior raised the problem of whether politicians should be prioritized for vaccination.

It's an interesting issue because elected representatives set a nation's course, while senior bureaucrats are (in practice) the ones who actually keep the country running by implementing that course.

If all the politicians died, how well would the country keep running? At one extreme, it would run like a chicken with its head cut off: the basic organ systems keep running, so the chicken can survive for a surprisingly long time (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34198390). At the other extreme, the beheaded nation quickly collapses into chaos because nobody is providing overall direction. I expect the former result is more likely than the latter, but it's not an experiment I'm eager to try.

250:

The political leadership of the US and UK and most of Canada are determined to act like that's true, no matter how many people die,

Interestingly Ontario is (rather late) apparently going to lockdown the entire province starting Christmas Eve (2 weeks for the northern part with low population/low numbers, 4 weeks for the southern portion).

251:

A reasonable point is that we vaccinate for several known diseases with lower known risk profiles to children.

And we will eventually vaccinate for Covid as well, but we don't roll out mass vaccination with testing first to make sure the vaccine doesn't behave differently in kids - and for obvious reasons all the initial development and testing was for adults as they can provide consent to be guinea pigs on an entirely new untested treatment.

I'd argue that we don't know the long-term effects of covid on children yet.

Not an argument - at about a year into this we simply don't know the long-term effects on anyone of Covid.

Many people (business, children's advocates, parents) would love for the risk/harm balance to be in favor of sending children to school. It might be, but I am not sure that it is. For children with unvaccinated parents, I'm fairly certain it is not.

The Province of Ontario publishes the numbers of Covid in Ontario schools.

Background - Covid is in community spread in the populous parts of Ontario with the largest urban areas (Toronto/Peel) having been in lockdown for 4 weeks already, last week several other areas were placed in lockdown, and news reports overnight indicate that the Premiere will announced today that the entire province will be put into lockdown effective Christmas Eve.

Yet despite that only 20% of the schools are reporting an active Covid case among students/staff - and a quick scroll through the school level numbers shows that only 5 schools are reporting cases in the double digits (18, 12, 12, 12, 10) and all other schools are in the single digits of cases.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-cases-schools-and-child-care-centres

Now obviously there are limitations to the data - any student showing no symptoms is unlikely to be tested - but the indications are that schools are not the problem from a Covid perspective (in fact, one of the Mayors (Brampton) has stated that the spread is happening in business/industry).

While valid data saying otherwise would have me reconsider, so far it appears that schools are not the danger that public perception would make them out to be - that the precautions taken are working and that the kids are wearing their masks.

252:

Re: Kids going to school. It is an impossible attempt to balance between risk of infection, loss of education, capacity for parents to continue working and paying bills, and risk of mental health issues for kids.

I can say with 100% certainty that both of my school aged kids were in a significant depression by the end of June this year, after being locked down for months. I was particularly worried about the 10 year old, who was in a spiral of misery from which he hasn't yet recovered. This is a real thing and has to be included in the calculations.

Kids are home from school now, I strongly expect the normally 2 week holiday break to be extended to at least 3 weeks past Xmas. I also expect youth sports to be shut down, which will be devastating to both of them, particularly the eldest.

Re: Legal accountability after being in office. The solution is to make damn sure your Justice department is morally unquestionable, wholly independent and not subject to political interference. Also give it the power and time to prosecute complex crimes. And then don't commit any crimes yourself.

Much 'white collar' crime goes unpunished because it is complex, difficult and costly to investigate, and difficult to prove. Making financial crime actually easier to investigate, and providing the budget and capacity to undergo such investigations, is a really good idea that is unlikely to ever happen.

253:

Why are you surprised about the accuracy of the calculations? Svante Arrhenius, in 1896, published "On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground" (https://balticeye.org/globalassets/blogg/michelle/arrhenius_1896.pdf), and he got pretty close to right with a paper and pencil. It's not a hard calculation, if you're talking about the relationship between the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and how much the atmosphere's temperature increases. Arrhenius' basic equation is at the heart of all climate models.

Thing is, this equation relates a the temperature of a volume of air to how much incoming energy is warms that air as opposed to passing through it. Getting that last number required grinding through a bunch of spectroscopic measurements, which is what Arrhenius did with some new-at-the-time data.*

Where you need a supercomputer is when you want to turn global energy capture into local temperatures, because that's effing hard, especially when clouds come into the picture. But the basic global average temperature over time is fairly easy. I was doing those calculations as an undergrad in the late 80s.

So far as the history of dealing with climate change, until Al Gore, most people (including me) thought that technological progress would solve the problem with gas giving way to hydrogen. What wasn't visible was how much effort the petroleum industry was putting into sowing doubt and disinformation on the issue, and we're still grappling with their political reach globally. Probably some of the old-timers here remember the the common viewpoint that "Technology is the big problem. once it's solved, the political issues can get handwaved away," when I started commenting here. Now, we put the political problems on par with the technological ones and wonder if either can be solved in time. That's progress, I guess.

*Arrhenius was using measurements of the spectra of moonlight. The reason for this apparent silliness is that researchers wanted to find out what the Moon was made of, and there was this new spectroscopic data coming in, with absorption and emission bands and all of that. But to use sunlight reflected off the lunar surface, they first had to subtract out the effect of earth's air selectively absorbing some wavelengths of light. Arrhenius was more interested in figuring out how changes in [CO2}atm might have caused ice ages, so he ground through the spectral data, pulled out the CO2 energy input, and came up with the relationship factor between how much CO2 is in the air and how global temperatures rise or fall. And he pretty much nailed it.

As others have noted, he also predicted global warming at the very end of the paper. But since he had no clue how much fossil fuel was available or how fast growth in consumption would happen, he figured it would be a problem in a few thousand years. I'd also point out that he was far from the first or last to worry about what would happen when all the coal and petroleum was burned. In the 19th Century, there were complaints about killjoys worrying endlessly about the problem, and fervent hopes that they would just shut up. That attitude might have been a bit of a mistake, looking back.

254:

However, if the authorities do not go after the person leaving office for what an even larger segment of the population believes are prosecutable offenses this will send the message to everyone that politicians have a free pass to do anything without fear of consequences.

For the record, I think (despite the danger that no conviction would result) that Trump should be pursued for all the various things he did in office - on the assumption that they actually were illegal - to (as noted) set an example to those that follow.

But the problem is prosecuting and getting convictions in these type of cases is very difficult - it's easy to say with a wave of hands that X is guilty of Y, it's another thing entirely to prove it in a court of law. So I can see the people at the Justice Department taking a look at the case, weighing the evidence they have available, and declining to prosecute.

And, as always, it is easy from the sidelines to say damn the side effects and prosecute - it is going to be another thing entirely when you personally can in the future be subject to retaliatory prosecution when you leave office.

255:

Interesting opinon piece in the Guardian about the problem facing American progressives

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/dec/19/progressives-us-democrats-power-new-deal

256:

"So far as the history of dealing with climate change, until Al Gore, most people (including me) thought that technological progress would solve the problem with gas giving way to hydrogen."

Oh, come off it! I didn't know Anyone With Clue who thought that, though I agree that most people are as thick as two short planks - however, I doubt very much that most people put any thought into the matter in the first place. Even today, the solutions to the technological problems to widespread use of hydrogen rely on handwavium, at best, and arguably even unobtanium. There were and are damn good technical reasons that lithium ion batteries have wiped that off most medium-term predictions.

I agree that the problems are at least as much political as technical, and about the culpability of the oil industry, but the idea of hydrogen being a viable replacement for natural gas (let alone oil) always was close to fantasy.

257:

It's not even true in the veterinary context, though it may be believed to be. There will always be susceptible individuals (e.g. ones that have not lived long enough to be immunised), for many diseases (definitely including COVID) there will always be the risk of infection from outside, and what I said in #215 applies.

258:

I wouldn't mind if a lovely, if strange, woman lying in a pond gave me a sword.

On the other hand, perhaps having Peter Jackson *and* Peter Theil eaten by a balrog would give the balrog indigestion, leading it to climb the Empire State building, where we can bring in the jets.

Oh, and the balrog should definitely have grabbed the Orange on, in only underwear, and drag him up there....

259:

Interesting timing. I paged forward a few pages... and discovered that the magazine seemed to approve of the new technique of high-pressure hoses used to keep strikers from the mills....

260:

The maps were pretty good back then. Honestly.

Let me note that one of my favorite jobs was working for a tiny software co (as in, 9 of us, including 3 part timers, and the owner's wife, who was the business agent) that wrote geophysical interpretation software (it was called Mira, and ran on special hardware - a PC with a Motorola co-processing card). Real popular in colleges (over 200 of them).

The cores were something like a sample analyzed ever 10'. For multi-thousand foot wells. And this was 88-89.

261:

I have to admit to being somewhat surprised at all this. I mean, model railroads started working on computerization of the running of them in the nineties, I think (hobbyist) and for years now, you can buy such as COTS.

I'd think that someone would be selling an app that flew a drone or whatever automatically, and all you had to do was steer, accelerate/slow, or land.

262:

Sorry, in the Guilded Age they were millionaires. By the time of the Great Depression, well, using mark's economic indicators, the dollar then was worth about $40 now.

For example, a breakfast special (two eggs, toast, potatoes and coffee) was $0.10; now, if you're lucky, it's $4.00 or more.

263:

"that only about fifty percent of cases are symptomatic at all"

Where are you getting that number?

The biggest studies I've seen indicate the actually asymptomatic number is 20% or so.

264:

I should contact my late ex's brother, and suggest he file charges against DeSantis for criminal negligence, and, oh, yes, practicing medicine without a license.

265:

What I've been wondering, ever since Sid Maier's Civilization came out, when you're going to have to succeed at, say, three games, before you can run for office.

Then, when are they going to start using *real* simulations to make policy? From there, we get to that gets done automatically, and they're constantly running. The AIs will help....

266:

No. And I just looked it up.... Er, NO!

So, a solar flare and an planetary alignment does it for us? That would make good ol' Terra an "unstable planet".

At which point I remember Dark Star.

267:

Re: '... the problem is prosecuting and getting convictions in these type of cases is very difficult'

Agree -- such as a repeat of his impeachment hearings: evidence that the Justice Department, FBI, etc. might not be legally allowed to air in public because of national security leaving taxes, 'charities' and other financial activities open to scrutiny.

This also means that the 'national security' angle needs to be addressed otherwise crooked pols will increasingly use it as a defense/shield. I'm not sure if there's an operational definition of determining unacceptable level of risk for 'national security': could be anywhere from 'other countries will think your POTUS is a dick' through 'imminent nuclear Armageddon'.

268:

1. No. Everyone's seen the result of not going after Nixon. And a LOT of people are talking, including to the media. Note that there's at least one, if not more, Congressmen who's saying use a law from during the Civil War to NOT SEAT the 126 GOP Cogresscritters-elect.

There *will* be sit-ins in offices to get the DoJ after them... and if they don't, then the whole concept of the rule of law is completely a joke, and the Dems know it.

2. The vaccine roll-out: I disagree. All of the GOP voters who voted against the Hairball will lead the way, and most folks, even two years from now, if Biden's team gets the rollout organized, that's all most folks will remember.

269:

That would screen out idiots like BoJo or Trump, but not competent criminals and/or servants of the ultra rich like Nixon or McConnel. I’m not sure improving the competence of the enemy is a net win.

270:

No, no volcano in Manchester. It's an Elvish invasion in Leeds.

271:

Re: Asymptomatic COVID-19 incidence

Varies very widely across studies. Difficult to nail this down because most countries do not test the population at large.

https://www.dovepress.com/three-quarters-of-people-with-sars-cov-2-infection-are-asymptomatic-an-peer-reviewed-article-CLEP

Author info:

Irene Petersen,1,2 Andrew Phillips3

1Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London, London, UK; 2Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 3Institute for Global Health, University College London, London, UK

272:

"The beheaded nation collapses into chaos". So, the US, the last almost four years?

273:

Well, I was thinking in terms of current dollars. But since you mention it, Wikipedia says John D. Rockefeller's wealth was in excess of a billion dollars when he died.

274:

"I wouldn't mind if a lovely, if strange, woman lying in a pond gave me a sword."

I would, because I would know that it came with a responsibility to sort out the mess the country is in!

275:

Although it would be deeply satisfying to see Trump et al. convicted of crimes against humanity, that's unlikely to happen. Criminal negligence causing death is more likely to succeed, but it's still going to be messy and long.

I'm holding out the most hope that they'll be taken down the same way Al Capone was (https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/al-capone): based on his many crimes against the tax system. In the case of the Trump gang, probably complemented by a long series of fraud investigations and insider trading prosecutions. I'd be very happy to see his assets frozen while the cases wend their way through the courts and to see dear Donald and his cronies spend the rest of their natural lives in court, paying Rudy Giuliana $20K per day with money they don't have.

276:

Erwin @ 244: Relatively speaking, I'd argue that the USA is showing more signs of instability than China.

And I do see your point. I've written previously here (starting at #1204) about my concerns for the US second civil war, although I will say that others here with more expertise were able to damp them down a good bit, at least for the short term (briefly, the National Guard is NOT going to get involved in shooting demonstrators ever again). Also we've now seen what the idiots with guns are really capable of, and it was pretty underwhelming. They talk big, they wave their guns around, some of the real hotheads might even dare to shoot a protester/rioter or two, but that's it. Organised insurrection they are not. One of the big disadvantages of believing conspiracy theories is that it makes every shadow look like the enemy, which makes coordinated and effective military action impossible.

OTOH I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. The USSR looked like it was here for the long term, until one day it wasn't. American politics is only becoming more tribal over time. Will American voters be able to stop the slide into lunacy? I do hope so.

Meanwhile China doesn't have any such option. They are on the road to having their aristocracy overthrown by the middle class. The only question is how long, and I think its more like one generation than several.

277:

There's an immense amount of corruption, from forcing US military air crews to drive what, 175 mi to stay at his resort? Having the Secret Service pay full price to stay at M-A-L? Skimming money from his campaigns? Nepotism? Misuse of authority?

278:

Geoff Hart
Ask the Belgians?
- later re. IQ45 - yes.
Also, does not immediately require the Feds - NY state can jail him, quite effectively for quite some time ( I hope )

Rocketjps
How people vary! I also expect youth sports to be shut down, which will be devastating to both of them, particularly the eldest.
If that had happened to me, whilst I was at school, I'd be cheering from the rooftops ....
No "Justice Department", anywhere, anywhen is not subject to some political interference, I'm afraid.

Heteromeles
I partially disagree, the technical problems may be difficult, but are ultimately sovable, the political ones, not so much, certainly not given the arseholes currenly in charge, anywhere, it seems.
Oh yes, your last - time to revive the famous Otto Frisch paper: "On the feasibility of Coal-Driven Power Stations", perhaps??

whitroth
use a law from during the Civil War to NOT SEAT the 126 GOP Cogresscritters-elect. Do tell, sounds fascinating!

Paul
Although the USSR basically collapsed under its' own weight, it still required a trigger - once that happened, the fall was rapid.
I've commented recently as to how the power of the Black Crows in Ireland was utterly broken in 6 years, whilst the USSR went in 3-&-a-half.
The triggers being the death of Savita Halvannapar & the explosion at Chernobyl, respectively.
China?
30-60 years, probably - but as always it will get a lot worse first - so the only surviving Uighurs will be outside China, for instance.

279:

The people who wrote the title and summary are guilty of deliberately misleading hype verging on bullshit. Nothing, not even information, is teleported, except in largely unpopular quantum models.

https://journals.aps.org/prxquantum/abstract/10.1103/PRXQuantum.1.020317

What I should be interested to read about is whether anything changes in their setup when the measurements are done within 70 microseconds of each other, which is technically trivial.

280:

Sorry, Greg, but I didn't grok "ask the Belgians". Details?

281:

1. No. Everyone's seen the result of not going after Nixon.

Which inherently assumes Nixon would have been convicted, not a given in cases like that.

And a LOT of people are talking, including to the media.

Four years ago a lot of people were talking, including to the media, about the Democrats running a child prostitution ring through a Pizza place.

Talk, and the amount of it, is meaningless.

Note that there's at least one, if not more, Congressmen who's saying use a law from during the Civil War to NOT SEAT the 126 GOP Cogresscritters-elect.

Which merely proves the Republicans don't have an exclusivity on idiots.

The idiot in question has asked Pelosi to not sit them on the basis of section 3 of the 14th amendment - which says insurrection or rebellion against the US disqualify a person from office.

No one is going to consider supporting a request for the court to rule on a matter to be an act of insurrection or rebellion.

There *will* be sit-ins in offices to get the DoJ after them...

Perhaps...

282:

use a law from during the Civil War to NOT SEAT the 126 GOP Cogresscritters-elect. Do tell, sounds fascinating!

See my post 281 - not interesting at all unless you are interested in seeing a Democrat congress critter make a fool of himself.

Although the USSR basically collapsed under its' own weight, it still required a trigger - once that happened, the fall was rapid.
I've commented recently as to how the power of the Black Crows in Ireland was utterly broken in 6 years, whilst the USSR went in 3-&-a-half.
The triggers being the death of Savita Halvannapar & the explosion at Chernobyl

I'd argue the USSR trigger was the refusal to use force against the East Germans, and then a continued refusal to use force as it spread.

Once it became apparent to the oppressed that there would be no repercussions for rebelling the restraints were removed from decades of oppression.

283:

Here's the language. IMO, the argument, while ludicrous[1], is arguably less ludicrous than the Texas filing was. Also, it's an independent loud statement that large numbers of people outside the right wing media bubble feel that the Republican behavior in support of overturning the election is sedition at the least, in support of potential insurrection. And yeah, I've been loosely tracking the rhetoric on the right and there are calls for political assassinations, insurrection, and civil war by popular fringe figures in support of overturning the election and giving Donald J. Trump another 4 (4+!!!) years as president.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv
Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

[1] There is a decision, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powell_v._McCormack (1969), which seems to require that all new members be seated. This is why the argument is said to be ludicrous. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/395/486 - it appears to mention the 14th amendment as not relevant to the case. (I didn't read the whole thing though.)

284:

mdive @282: I'd argue the USSR trigger was the refusal to use force against the East Germans, and then a continued refusal to use force as it spread.

I've been reading Fiona Hill's (remember her) fascinating book Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, which analyzes Mr. Putin's mindset and his rise to power. Although somewhat dated (copyright 2012), it gives a lot of insight into his point of view, and how he got where he is.

I mention this because she goes into detail on his journey from KGB rezident to politician, going into detail on his time as a deputy mayor of Leningrad (now again St. Petersburg), after being stationed in East Germany in the late 1980s. She points out that changes in the USSR occurred before those in East Germany, causing Putin to lack understanding of the political environment when he rotated back to the motherland. The collapse of the USSR started within, not due to the splintering of the Warsaw Pact, according to her reading.

285:

Robert Prior raised the problem of whether politicians should be prioritized for vaccination.

In the case of Rubio and Graham, I see it more as two chaps who have insisted the boat is not sinking and there is not a hole in the hull, who refused to do any kind of disaster preparedness, who actively encouraged people to wedge open the watertight bulkhead doors, suddenly grabbing a flotation device intended for the crewmembers who are trying to rescue people trapped in the hull.

If I can offer a very scrambled metaphor.

286:

I'd argue the USSR trigger was the refusal to use force against the East Germans, and then a continued refusal to use force as it spread.

No: there was a prior cause, in the form of West German financial institutions' reluctance to extend further forex loans to the USSR. The USSR was primarily a resource extraction and exporting economy even then: severe crop failures for several consecutive years in the 1980s meant that they had to use hard currency to buy grain to keep their -- and satellite state -- population(s) fed. Saudi Arabia played a big part by opening the oil stop cocks and pumping crude, which depressed the price of their oil/gas exports. (We also have a background of the Iran/Iraq war and the Tanker War earlier in the decade, which put prices up: as the war ended, both Iran and Iraq were also pumping gas to repair the damage.) When the soft money ran out, the USSR had a choice: feed their own people, or feed the satellite states. They settled for the former and cut East Germany, Poland, Romania, Hungary et al loose rather than deal with simultaneous starvation-fuelled uprisings in six or ate satellite states (which would have been disastrous for them).

TLDR is the collapse was triggered by external macroeconomic factors driven by the Middle East and the price of grain, and the refusal to suppress the East German public was down to "if we start, where does it end?" The 1991 coup and subsequent dissolution of the USSR was not exactly peaceful but it was a lot less violent than things might otherwise have been.

Of course, the idiot neoconservatives in the USA decided to declare victory and treat Russia as if it had lost a war, thereby paving the way for (a) disaster capitalism/profiteering, (b) the rise of an oligarchy, and (c) the national politics of (justified) resentment.

287:

only 20% of the schools are reporting an active Covid case among students/staff

Asymptomatic people are unlikely to be tested, and children are likely to be asymptomatic. As a recently retired teacher I'm aware of how many parents lie in order to have free daycare, and definitely aware of how many public health guidelines are being regularly broken in TDSB schools. I've colleagues who almost certainly had Covid but didn't get tested because (contrary to what Ford claims) tests aren't available to everyone.


one of the Mayors (Brampton) has stated that the spread is happening in business/industry

Not to mention private gatherings.

288:

Charlie Stross @ 286

So, the Collapse of the USSR had nothing to do with the relative potency of the arsenals of the USA and the USSR?

289:

If only the hard-liners in the Politiburo hadn't ousted Krushchev, the rest of the century might have been very different....

Stop them, give the elder Mayor Daley of Chicago a fatal heart attack in '67.... Hell, give Macnamara a set of balls, and have him tell LBJ that we couldn't win in 'Nam under any acceptable conditions *before* he committed half a million men to 'Nam in '65....

290:

Robert Prior noted: "In the case of Rubio and Graham, I see it more as two chaps who have insisted the boat is not sinking and there is not a hole in the hull, who refused to do any kind of disaster preparedness, who actively encouraged people to wedge open the watertight bulkhead doors, suddenly grabbing a flotation device intended for the crewmembers who are trying to rescue people trapped in the hull."

Yes, but. Given that there seems to be an asshole gene* that protects people like Trump and Bojo and their enablers against covid-19, and given that we don't want to risk a situation in which their opponents are dying and leaving the reins in the hands of the Trumpists... well, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the politicians should be given fairly high priority. There's also the fact that showing them taking the vaccination will persuade many of their followers to do the same, which is huge when it comes to public health. The polls I've seen suggest that enough people are unwilling to be vaccinated that we might not achieve herd immunity (based on my definition rather than Graydon's).

*No, I'm not serious about that. A few prominent Republican assholes have also died from the virus.

I've said (in anger, not seriousness) that people who refuse to wear masks should be allowed that behavior, on the condition that they agree to be added to a database of "shall receive no treatment if they get infected and are willing to be jailed if they can be shown to have infected someone else" (i.e., put your money where your mouth is). But (i) that's more unethical than I'm prepared to be in practice, even if I could persuade myself that it's just, and (ii) it's pretty much impossible to enforce. Doctors tend to hold themselves to a high ethical standard.

291:

On the fall of the USSR, I understood that the USA had agreed to provide loans, but only on condition that force was not used to keep the satellite states under the Kremlin's thumb. So the Kremlin had to choose between bread riots in Moscow and watching a second Prague Spring unfold.

However my main point in mentioning it was not the details of the collapse, it was that nobody saw it coming.

292:

While the Toronto observations are promising, as a parent of school-age children, an assertion that children are infected at low incidence and don't contribute significantly to spread is the sort of extraordinary claim that would require extraordinary evidence...

Or, put another way, I've spent enough days doused in snot to be very wary when my kids catch something. And seen the youngest licking enough stuff

For our kidlings, if anything, they are doing better. Albeit, some of the teachers are struggling quite visibly. Virtual learning is clearly a new skillset.

293:

Geoff Hart
Belgium without a government TWICE - for HOW LONG?
All true ...

Niala
Not a lot, no ..
Though the USA was spending the USSR into the ground - a trick we had pulled at least twice on the French & were pulling well-ahead on Imperial Germany in 1914 - they thought they could win a land war, before the food ran out ... wrong.

294:

The Belgian system for choosing governments is prone to delivering indeterminate results, so they end up without a government while they try and sort things out. Fairly recently, it took them so long to work something out that they spent something like a year and a half with no government. Which didn't seem to be any kind of problem at all; the chicken's body kept on happily running around still leaving eggs in the right places until they finally made a new head for it.

I think we would do well to take on board some lessons from Continental political methods, such as emulating the Belgians, and having a government composed of lots of different parties all with a similar-ish number of seats. It seems to me that a lot of the shittiness of Britain arises because most of the time we do not actually need a government, but nevertheless we always have one, and when there is nothing very important for it to do, rather than going home and putting its feet up, it makes up shit to occupy itself with instead. And pretty much has its own way in enacting it. I would distinctly prefer it if we had a government that spent most of the time arguing with itself and achieving nothing, unless some situation arose that was actually important enough to need dealing with. (If a thing fails to concentrate people's minds enough that they mostly stop arguing and manage to agree on something to do, it probably isn't important enough to need anything done.)

295:

Thanks. Will grind through it. If you feel like emailing me I own the net.nz domain of my username :)

It surprises me that I can get a simulator-compatible transmitter for much less than the cost of the simulated transmitter. FlySky i6X is ~$100, and it all just clips together for ~$200... https://www.instructables.com/FlySky-FS-i6X-Setup-With-a-RC-Simulator/

The regulatory environment is important to check out.

Yes. That and covid are making me pretty cautious because it's hard for me to get to a club flying area carrying a big box, and I'm not sure I'd want to right now. This is one area where quadcopters have a real advantage - for under $500 you can get a folding kit that packs into a small briefcase and meets the 250g limit for casual flying. Counterintuitively it's harder to find a fixed wing model that meets those requirements :)

296:

No. A good part, IMO, was Raygun's whole SDI. It was unworkable, but terrified the Soviets... and the US had a super-titanium-uranium-platinum credit card, while the USSR had only a regular credit card. Given that the USSR had publicly stated that they would never use first strike, they felt they had to try to defeat it... and that massive expenditure helped drive them to the collapse.

297:

https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32651-9/attachment/6c6bb98b-d68b-4323-a441-4d3be05e3c98/mmc1.pdf

which goes along with

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32651-9/fulltext

Hardly anyone is testing everybody. When broad testing takes place, there are a lot of asymptomatic cases. They're probably less infectious, but they're certainly not non infectious.

298:

Thanks for reading it so I didn't have to.

Just that one article was making my dull foreign brain hurt.

299:

Quite. They may well not develop symptoms, but I don't see any reason to believe they don't pick it up and run around shedding virus while their immune system is still mobilising.

And I would expect them to be more effective than adults at distributing it. I dread going into a shop when I have mistimed my visit and the schools are kicking out. They run around expending energy and making a noise, breathing heavily to support the activity and spraying aerosols about; they go round in flocks instead of individually; and by ordinary habit they are sticky and unhygienic and basically don't care anyway.

And their shopping behaviour is incredibly inefficient; five or ten of them all hanging round the counter in a haze of infective miasma, picking things up and asking the shopkeeper how much they are and putting them down again over multiple iterations before they eventually decide to buy something. For this reason one of my most favoured shops at this time is one where the owners basically view all kids as thieves, and have been doing so for long enough that most of them have at least partly realised they're not welcome.

300:

Thanks for the explanations of the Belgian situation. Not sure how well it relates to the American model, though. The Belgians are a civilized people (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_in_Belgium), particularly when it comes to their customs for frying potatoes. *G*

301:

Interestingly Ontario is (rather late) apparently going to lockdown the entire province starting Christmas Eve (2 weeks for the northern part with low population/low numbers, 4 weeks for the southern portion).

Which is depressing, because it's more damage maximisation.

So far as I know, the figures that lockdown decision has been based on haven't been released, but the point of this stuff is (probably) Dougie trying to get people to shut up with the criticism rather than actually solving the problem, which requires a combination of spending
plus eviction freezes, rent freezes, etc., so people can stay home and still eat, on the one hand, and setting a quantifiable target for something related to COVID-19, not a date. Only if they set a quantified target it makes it obvious they didn't build out testing capacity and if they actually provide economic support it makes them apostate mammonites. And they've got an absolute majority in the legislature for the next year and a half. (Next election due on or before 2022-06-02.)

302:

Graydon @ 301 : "Ontario is (rather late) apparently going to lockdown the entire province"

It's called a lockdown but it doesn't look like they're going to shut down the roads to Manitoba in the West and to Quebec in the East.

303:

Well, I suppose I'd be willing - does the sword come with a horse?

304:

Well, I know several people who saw it coming - they were (practical) economists.

305:

> If all the politicians died, how well would the country keep running?

You could take a look at Belgium - the country is all the time without an elected government. iirc the records so far are 550 days or so in 2010/2011 and close to 500 days in 2019/2020.

The outgoing prime minister is still responsible for the daily business but cannot introduce bigger changes (like a new government budget, the finances are simply carried forward from the last regular budget). In the event of a politician mass extinction a senior bureaucrat should be able to fill the role - no political decisions needed, just more of the same.

It seems to be working for the Belgians, but I'm not convinced that one should model all societies accordingly :)

306:

woops, Greg already covered Belgium as example.

307:

So far as I know, the figures that lockdown decision has been based on haven't been released, but the point of this stuff is (probably) Dougie trying to get people to shut up with the criticism rather than actually solving the problem,

As of this morning(*) Ontario had 265 Covid patients in ICU, compared to 264 at the worst of the initial Covid wave in the Spring, with forecasts of 300 Covid patients in ICU in 10 days.

Given the way Covid works, that means if nothing done the Covid ICU numbers in January start to get dangerous.

And note to everyone in Ontario - hidden in the reporting is that retail that remains open will drop to 25% customer occupancy from the current 50% in lockdown areas - so possibility of outdoor lineups at food stores again.


* https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-december-21-lockdown-orders-1.5849760

308:

You could take a look at Belgium - the country is all the time without an elected government

The UK also did pretty well without an elected government for centuries. Sometimes I think the Conservative Party's secret plan is to restore the monarchy by convincing everyone that nothing could be worse than democracy.

Meanwhile I quite like the situation in Anglonesia - we have all the pomp and ceremony we can handle but none of the upkeep. Store your glorious ruler overseas and bring them in for special occasions. Admittedly some of our elected governments are better than others... but none quite to dedicated to the cause of showing us that democracy can't work by their own actions.

309:

And I would expect them to be more effective than adults at distributing it. I dread going into a shop when I have mistimed my visit and the schools are kicking out. They run around expending energy and making a noise, breathing heavily to support the activity and spraying aerosols about; they go round in flocks instead of individually; and by ordinary habit they are sticky and unhygienic and basically don't care anyway.

Ironically enough (and admittedly only one person's observation where I am), the kids are taking mask wearing and everything else far more seriously than the adults - including wearing their masks to/from school while walking on the sidewalks. And no running around or other games inside retailers since Covid started.

310:

people who refuse to wear masks should be allowed that behavior, on the condition that they agree to be added to a database of "shall receive no treatment if they get infected and are willing to be jailed if they can be shown to have infected someone else"

At least one member of Germany's Ethics Council agrees with you…

"Whoever wants to refuse the vaccination outright, he should, please also always carry a document with the inscription: 'I don't want to be vaccinated!'" Wolfram Henn, a human geneticist, told Bild on Saturday. "I want to leave the protection against the disease to others! I want, if I get sick, to leave my intensive care bed and ventilator to others."

311:

Though you would certainly mind being handed the responsibility you could actually do some good. If you were in the position to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you, you would be exempt from the usual rules for rulers. CGPGrey covered it in an excellent youtube video "rules for rulers", but the gist of it is, we can all see how things could be fixed (see recent discussion about how "politics" is more important than technology for fixing this shit) and as candidates, the politicians seem to know what to do, but once in power they never do. Because rules. And the rules are, you have to please the people who put you in power. The people who put you there could do so because the current system has favoured them, and put them in power. Change things too much and you'll hurt your supporters, lose their support and be deposed.

Random allocation of power, by watery tarts distributing swords, or name from hat, would circumvent that problem. (ignoring the Murdoch effect for a moment)

312:

given that we don't want to risk a situation in which their opponents are dying and leaving the reins in the hands of the Trumpists... well, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the politicians should be given fairly high priority

What about requiring a public declaration that Covid is real, and serious, before they get to jump the line ahead of front line medical workers?

Because if it's a fake crisis and not that serious a disease, surely they'd be OK waiting to get their own vaccinations and let someone more at risk go first?

313:

There's been pushback about "why is this whole-province?" from regional medical officers of health; there's the (quite reasonable) point that without secure food and housing, people simply won't stay home, they'll go to work; there's the further point that large industrial sites seem to be major causes of COVID transmission and these are not getting the prevention attention they ought to get; and there's the whole date thing and the whole "one time" thing. If the motivator is the number of ICU cases, what ICU case indicator lifts the lockdown?

I would really like more, more vigorous, and above all effective COVID-19 countermeasures; which at seventh and last means giving people enough money so they can stay home securely. (And may then justly be required so to do.)

I want every Canadian province compared to Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea in terms of COVID response, not the US, too, while I'm wishing for things. (But not a pony; ponies are a lot of upkeep.)

314:

Oh I wonder who's submarine it is going to be in the news.

https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-astrazeneca-russia-idUSKBN28L0YQ
*shrugs indefinitely*

to whitroth @296:
and the US had a super-titanium-uranium-platinum credit card, while the USSR had only a regular credit card
Which they obviously didn't have, because none of that titanium shine was ever authentic, it was Chinese plastic coated with empty political statements. As if you'd forget that things like laser satellites and orbital planes really did fly and had to be repurposed after the tensions have vanished in thin air. Unsurprisingly, US military still think this will work again, considering the SpaceX entire PR output, but they are wrong.

To all people still wracking their brains about "fall of USSR" 30 years after the fact, they miss the point that there was never really one solid reason. I can briefly summarize the real reasons in one sentence, but it hardly helps: it was all about market competition, and if USSR would just use a bit more flexible approach to modernize economy, they would ended up at the China's situation. (One might sink that there isn't enough people to pull something similar but they forget that USSR had the population at least twice of modern Russia they know).

I personally attribute most of the trouble to Corn Buffoon (Khrushchev) application of cronyism and party management that finally bore their fruit a generation later. Hard to believe that was the time in 80s that many movies did push the concept of almost-eternal Cold War coming to an end with united humanity or rereading old books of that time. Post-war American exceptionalism has made this line of history a dead end (if only briefly).

Also modern journalist "history" completely forgets that the USSR did not go down in flames like most of the other empires, to the much disappointment of worst haters of it. It did not provoke widespread civil unrest, nuclear mismanagement, mass extinction and spreading chaos everywhere. They have no awareness of amount of precaution that was taken to prevent the chaos and what methods were used, and what have been happening in Eastern Europe when these precaution failed (or rather been used for opposite purpose).

I wonder what world do these people live in here right now, where a country should have long gone off the map, vanished from recordings, and it's history forgotten between pages, but they still have that insatiable itch that something has gone wrong and their dream world of cheap fan fiction really doesn't match the reality. They can very much find out that not only their fringe awareness is failing but that their closes and most familiar things are no longer reliable. That is what "being inflexible" means. 12 years ago when I learned enough language to read foreign press I would ask myself "how could they not see the signs", but now I got all the answers. It's been 12 years, after all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXRtNwUju5g
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-18/u-s-to-blacklist-smic-and-dozens-more-china-firms-reuters-says
You still think it's just a mistake? You really believe that undoing your Agent Orange will undo the damage? Well, there was a time I though it's going to make difference, and this time ended very recently.

315:

Re: Ontario - Ford - Lockdown

I think that having OHA and OMA both saying a lockdown was necessary finally got through to Ford.

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/12/17/oha-covid19-lockdown-infection-rates/

'The Ontario Medical Association has also called for a lockdown of the entire GTHA until after the New Year while also calling on the premier to extend the winter school break.'

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) makes up about 47% of the entire Ontario population. If you add in commuting neighboring regions (Peel, Durham, York, etc.) it's at least 65%. Also, I think that the number of hospital beds esp. ICU and specialties/research strongly skew toward the GTA. So having this region going into a hard lockdown is a response to both population and most-likely-to-be-needed medical resource availability pressures.

316:

> The UK also did pretty well without an elected government for centuries

Touche, you got me there :)

> we have all the pomp and ceremony we can handle but none of the upkeep

Dunno, stuff like flag waving, military parades et al feel alien to me. Probably a combination of my world view, upbringing and result of Germany's post-war reordering by the Allies.

317:

Albeit, some of the teachers are struggling quite visibly. Virtual learning is clearly a new skillset.

It is indeed. Virtually all teachers are effectively first-year teachers again. Experienced ones know what to do but not how to do it remotely. Doesn't help that (in Ontario at least) management directives and procedures keep changing every week.

(Administration at my old school decided to change virtual school platforms in the middle of the school year, because "people prefer a different one". No discussion or consultation with staff as a whole; my guess is that a few people complained a lot and administration did what they wanted to shut them up. But it means teachers and students need to learn to navigate a whole new online platform, in addition to trying to actually teach/learn their subjects.)

318:

Graydon
pushback about "why is this whole-province?"
Happens here - because of "Administrative boundaries" the island of Arran is clumped in with Clydeside.
The inhabitants were well-pissed-off with restrictions telling them all their pubs had to close, because ... when there had ( at that point ) zero cases on the island.

319:

And note to everyone in Ontario - hidden in the reporting is that retail that remains open will drop to 25% customer occupancy from the current 50% in lockdown areas - so possibility of outdoor lineups at food stores again.

My local Loblaws had a lineup this morning when I went. I assumed that that was partly because we're now into school holidays when many parents also take holidays, so adults have more time in the middle of the day to go shopping. Very different crowd than last Monday.

Maybe Loblaws has started the restrictions early, or maybe lineups will get really long next week.

I think I'll go shopping with two lists next week — my normal list, and a supplemental one to buy if lines are so long that I only want to go every fortnight (or less frequently).

320:

However my main point in mentioning it was not the details of the collapse, it was that nobody saw it coming.

To phrase Charlie's and some others responses a bit differently.

The USSR was propping up East Europe with money. When the money ran out the USSR fell. And they were not disclosing their balance sheets as things got rough. I suspect they just didn't know what to do for various reasons below. So they keep on driving the train down the tracks till the tracks ran out.

- I read a bit after the fall a clue was that the USSR quit selling gold just before the fall.

- Modern communications (compared to the 40s, 50s, 60s,) meant that the folks in the USSR interior could tell they were getting a much worse deal than those in E. Germany and surrounding.

- Chernobyl convinced Gorbachev there was no way to "fix" the problems. They were too baked in.

322:

The outgoing prime minister is still responsible for the daily business but cannot introduce bigger changes (like a new government budget, the finances are simply carried forward from the last regular budget).

Here in the US we already have a variation of that. At the federal level Congress keeps passing "continuing resolutions" instead of budgets/appropriations. This weekend we had a 2 day one. I wonder if that's a record for how short they can be.

Here in North Carolina we just went through (in the end of it) no budget being approved so by law we get all the old numbers and programs carried forward. Which makes 2020 a really odd duck. We have a legislature of R's and a D governor. But not enough R's to override a D veto. So ...

323:

There's been pushback about "why is this whole-province?" from regional medical officers of health

Part of the reasoning for that is probably (based on what I've heard) that they expect people to travel to see family for Christmas, lockdown and rules be damned, and so having 14 days of reducing contacts after many (likely) spreader events is a reasonable precaution.

One point for non-Canadians: it's called a lockdown, but it's nowhere near as severe as Australians or Europeans would expect. No police stop you to see if you are too far from home, no curfews, many shops and businesses still open, etc.

As I've noted before, when Toronto/Peel locked down and York Region was still a red zone traffic in York Region malls tripled — people were willing to drive an extra half an hour to go somewhere they were allowed to shop. Now York Region is in lockdown Durham shops are busier than ever. The problem with 'precision lockdowns' is that they are very easy to circumvent, and Canadians right now seem to be very willing to circumvent them.

A small outbreak in Pembroke was traced to a visitor from a lockdown region:

Acting Medical Officer of Health Doctor Robert Cushman says this was another travel-related situation where a visitor had come from a grey area currently in lockdown.

Doctor Cushman is again reminding everyone that this year it is imperative that the holidays be spent at home with members of your immediate household as non-essential travel must be suspended.

https://www.renfrewtoday.ca/2020/12/20/covid-19-outbreak-declared-at-pembroke-dental-office/

324:

Here in the US we already have a variation of that. At the federal level Congress keeps passing "continuing resolutions" instead of budgets/appropriations. This weekend we had a 2 day one. I wonder if that's a record for how short they can be.

I get the impression that Belgium hasn't had governmental shutdowns like the US does, though. And wouldn't have. From the outside it seems crazy that your country expects the civil service to keep working without pay while politicians argue.

325:

Graydon:313
whole "one time" thing. If the motivator is the number of ICU cases, what ICU case indicator lifts the lockdown?

They essentially are looking to stop the upward curve of ICU admissions, though what exactly that would be is left unsaid.

I would really like more, more vigorous, and above all effective COVID-19 countermeasures; which at seventh and last means giving people enough money so they can stay home securely. (And may then justly be required so to do.)

I agree the Ford government is handling it poorly, mainly for ideological reasons - but it is what it is, there is lots of blame to go around.

SFReader:315
I think that having OHA and OMA both saying a lockdown was necessary finally got through to Ford.

Given that I believe at least 2 hospitals have had to move patients to other hospitals for Covid reasons, the system has been giving out warning signs for a while now.

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) makes up about 47% of the entire Ontario population. If you add in commuting neighboring regions (Peel, Durham, York, etc.) it's at least 65%.

Not quite. The GTA is the City of Toronto + Durham, Halton, Peel, and York Regions for a combined 6.4 million or 47% (2016) of Ontario's population. Add in Hamilton and you get another 700,000 or so.

Robert Prior:323
The problem with 'precision lockdowns' is that they are very easy to circumvent, and Canadians right now seem to be very willing to circumvent them.

Yep. While some of this is the government's fault (for not dealing with the industrial & other businesses - Amazon(*) - that are causing a lot of the spread and providing financial support and legal support for people to avoid these situations) the people who are ignoring the advice are also a big problem.

But also not unique to Ontario - see the crowds of people fleeing London over the weekend when it was going to Tier 4

* - https://nationalpost.com/news/more-than-400-covid-19-cases-at-amazon-warehouses-in-ontario-amid-concern-about-industrial-spread-of-virus

326:

I've been looking at Radiomaster and Jumper, both of which do OpenTX and multi protocol, and also do the sim controller thing out of the box. They avoid the ecosystem lock-in, though it does also seem the Spektrum gear is very popular among the fixed wingers locally here. I *had* been considering just going with a Spektrum transmitter, but the pricing for what you get is radically divergent from the rest of the market (Horizon/Spektrum are sort of positioning themselves to be the Apple of RC).

I misremembered and mixed up 500g (which is the limit for Brisbane parks that are not designated drone launch areas) and 250g (which is the upcoming CASA registration threshold). There are UMX models that fit in the 250g flying weight, but it's problematic getting a camera on board (see wing loading and the effects of increasing it by >20%). I think that the smaller the plane, the less stable in moderate wind, and this would affect image quality anyway. I'm contemplating getting a grip on what rigmarole (and cost) is required to get a permit to go up to 2kg outside club areas (see also: e-Flite Opterra). It certainly involves getting a "drone licence". But I'm seeing that as further down the road pending learning to fly reliably first.

In addition to the regulatory environment for flying things, it seems there's also some issue with FPV signals running afoul of changing ACMA rules for spectrum use, and possibly some popular systems are no longer street legal in Aus. I'm not clear on the details and the boundary to that. Doesn't affect just using a GoPro and doing 4K video of the entire flight, something that ought to yield reasonable stills, especially using a camera with image stabilisation mounted on a medium plane with AS3X (or equivalent stabilisation).

327:

nowhere near as severe as Australians or Europeans would expect

The NSW lockdown is nowhere near as severe as you would expect.

Northern beaches resident allegedly drove three hours despite lockdown: A northern beaches man allegedly travelled more than three hours to the Ulladulla Leisure Centre, despite a strict lockdown preventing residents from leaving the area.

https://www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/Council/News/Breach-of-Public-Health-Incident-at-Ulladulla-Leisure-Centre-21-December-2020

"Our" politicians are still in discussions with Rupert Murdoch to decide how serious a lockdown they're allowed and whether it can be enforced.

There's a great comparison shot going around of a "Dictator Dan's Disaster" front page compared to the same outlet's "It's for your own good" during the NSW lockdown. The article below is a handy reminder that when a couple of white middle-class people cause an outbreak somehow they're not "enemies of the state" in the same way that younger brown people are.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/commentisfree/2020/jul/31/abc-drawn-into-row-over-naming-brisbane-women-accused-of-covid-19-quarantine-deception

328:

Meanwhile
Does anyone believe any of this? Or is it more hype?

Quantum Teleportation - way too far out of my knowledge to judge.

But following links from the Independent story gets this(*) story on Vice that says it is researchers at Caltech, Fermilab, AT&T, Harvard, University of Calgary and JPL - so it doesn't appear that it would be something made up.

The paper(*) has been published in PRX Quantum, which is published by the American Physical Society.

And the story itself isn't the Quantum Teleportation, but rather the increase in distance - Vice article states University of Calgary achieved 6km in 2016, this consortium has now pushed that to 22km.

So I would expect/hope that if this was a hoax the 2016 achievement would have been exposed as such by now.

* - https://www.vice.com/en/article/93wqep/researchers-have-achieved-sustained-long-distance-quantum-teleportation

** - https://journals.aps.org/prxquantum/abstract/10.1103/PRXQuantum.1.020317

329:

Elderly Cynic was uncomplimentary about that paper (title) at #279
I haven't done a search; maybe it's a current term of the art in some circles, but the title looks like (shameless) bait for publicists for sure. (Seen a similar press release happen before, elsewhere.)

330:

Yeah, it's the price that makes me balk. I'm probably going to buy a transmitter with what seems like a plausible receiver and set it up for simulation and see how I go. I might end up the a surfboard mount on the back of the bike to carry wings with, because the nearest place I can get away with flying is ~5km away (https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-33.9440248,151.0423707,1231m/data=!3m1!1e3 based on seeing someone else there the other day).

331:

Oh dear.

Mr. Anonymous Russian,

Do pay attention to those denizens of a fully collapsing empire (formerly the British Empire) on whose blog you're bloviating.

They're your view of a future Russia. The good parallel is between the UK in the 1950s and Russia in the 1990s. Who lost their empire better? Do you know yet?

To be completely fair, this is America's future too. And China's. And India's. No large empire survives intact for all that long, propaganda notwithstanding.

So watch and learn as the wheels turn, and be glad it's been as easy as it has been for you so far.

332:

What I've been wondering, ever since Sid Maier's Civilization came out, when you're going to have to succeed at, say, three games, before you can run for office.

Well, yeah... I remember one game of Civ IV, where I got the tech to see where the oil deposits were, but didn't exactly need them yet. There were none in my country, but a couple in a neighbouring one. I tried to negotiate for that oil, but had no success.

The solution? Obviously a pre-emptive war to gain that oil. When it wasn't needed I was an important player, but at some point without oil the wars become all but impossible. I did win that game.

I'm not sure that's a thing I would like politicians to learn from the game. The real world is more nuanced, and not everybody is vying to be the top dog anyway, and at least that game doesn't simulate that very well.

333:

"Why don't you teach the bomb philosophy?"

334:

They should be not-seated on the basis that they have declared their own elections to be fraudulent. And if someone asks why, they answer is "Merrick Garland. Go home."

336:

https://www.markpack.org.uk/38813/zhou-enlai-mao-tse-tung-impact-of-french-revolution/

In this case, it's definitely true - I am saying it :-) Time will tell whether the Russian Federation lasts longer after the end of the USSR than the UK does after the end of the British Empire.

As you say, we are watching it unfold for the USA as we post. China and India are not comparable, at least at present.

sleepingroutine is perfectly correct that there were other paths that could have been taken and, if Khrushchev had been more far-sighted and effectively dictatorial, one of them might have been taken.

337:

Yes. If anyone manages to either (a) transfer information over entanglement or (b) tunnel something over macro distances, it would be difficulty to over-hype. But extending the entanglement distance and reliability is something that gets reported twice a year.

338:
Not quite the same as a volcano in Manchester, UK. But in the direction of Vesuvius going off again.
What an odd thing to say. There are about 600,000 people who would need to be evacuated from the red zone around Vesuvius if it looked like going off. The population of Manchester is about 550,000.

If all of Greater Manchester were affected that's 2.8 million. But then again the estimation of the people needed to be evacuated if Vesuvius goes bad carefully ignores the 3 million people in Naples.

339:
If all the politicians died, how well would the country keep running?
See Belgium for a worked example. The politicians didn't die but they have repeatedly been able to form a government, thus leaving the ship of state with no defined course.

How did it work? Mostly well, with a few minor exceptions like "accidentally" losing large parts of their nuclear electricity generation capacity.

340:

There is also a huge difference between Hawaii and Italy even ignoring population. The volcanoes in the latter often go boom, and those in the former don't.

341:

The volcanoes in the latter often go boom, and those in the former don't.

Basaltic vs andesitic/rhyolitic lavas. Basaltic lavas flow, the others tend to resist pressure, allowing it to build up until boom.

342:

If all of Greater Manchester were affected that's 2.8 million.

A volcano in Greater Manchester would also trash Liverpool (34 miles away, centre to centre) and Bradford (40 miles, centre to centre): Leeds is only another 10 miles past Bradford (they merge at the edges). In fact, within 50 miles of the centre of Manchester you've got most of the M62 corridor, one of the four major population centres of the British isles (along with London, Birmingham/Midlands, and the Scottish Central Belt).

The big Vesuvius eruption of 79AD spewed ash up to 30km into the stratosphere and produced pyroclastic flows that travelled 20km. A Vesuvius-equivalent event in Manchester today ... Bradford might survive, being on the far side of the Pennines, but it's mostly downhill to Liverpool. Not a great prognosis!

343:

Wouldn't it be more efficient if we just put the volcano in Leeds?

344:

Robert Prior: "What about requiring a public declaration that Covid is real, and serious, before they get to jump the line ahead of front line medical workers? Because if it's a fake crisis and not that serious a disease, surely they'd be OK waiting to get their own vaccinations and let someone more at risk go first?"

That and wearing a mask and telling their constituents to do it too, yes. It passes my "put your money where your mouth is" test, but not the "is it sufficiently ethical that doctors would accept it" test. Where would you set the line: Do you deny medical care to downhill skiers? Scuba divers? People who fell trees for a living? Fishermen? People who join the infantry? (All activities with a relatively high serious injury or mortality rate.) It becomes kinda subjective.

I agree that based on evidence to date, senior bureaucrats would probably do a better job of running the country than most of the pols and pretty much all of the Trump appointees. If correct, a mass extinction event at the congressman/senator level would improve overall governance, but you'd never get the electorate to accept that situation. And I'd say that losing AOC, Ilhan Omar, Elizabeth Warren, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, and many others would be unacceptable collateral damage. These folk are the bright hope for the future.

345:

Re: '... people were willing to drive an extra half an hour to go somewhere they were allowed to shop.'


Yeah - when I saw the headline about how upset the Ottawa mayor was my immediate reaction was: sure, there's absolutely no record of any Ottawan ever hopping into the car to pick up wine/beer* at a Gatineau/Hull 'dep' (depanneur). Quebec imposed its lockdown earlier so I'm guessing Ottawa area stores saw an uptick in sales from Hull area shoppers/residents who probably commute to Ottawa for work.


* Last time I was in Ottawa, you could only buy wine at 'The Beer Store' or LCBO whereas you could pick up beer and wine at any Hull convenience (dep) or grocery store a few minutes' drive away. (Cheaper, too.)

346:

mdive noted: "Quantum Teleportation - way too far out of my knowledge to judge."

Ditto, but with one quibble: it's not teleportation. Whatever the denotation of the word (the strict etymological meaning), connotation (how words are actually used) outweighs denotation when it comes to clear communication. The connotation of teleportation is a transfer of mass. The quantum teleportation being described is a transfer of information, not mass. So it conflicts with the prevailing word usage, and that leads to confusion. (If I had a couple days, I could dig through my Stephen Jay Gould collection to find examples from the master.)

I've been substantive editing of peer-review journal manuscripts for 30+ years, and have gradually come to the opinion that scientists shouldn't be allowed to name things without adult supervision. (Note: First, that's a joke, not a definitive statement. Second, like all generalizations, it's unfair to the many who do name things with exquisite caution to ensure clarity.) Still... adult supervision required.

347:

Re: 'Where would you set the line: ...'

Insurers set the line on this all the time - no problematic ethics, just plain old $$$. It's 'interesting' that none of them have taken a public stance on this - at least I haven't seen anything yet in the media.

348:

SFReader: Agreed in principle, but relying on insurance math kinda fails the ethic test, don't you think?

349:

Re: ' ... relying on insurance math kinda fails the ethic test,'

When you have a $$$-driven culture, having insurers say 'Because you've had a COVID-19 infection, your premiums will now and ever after be 200% higher' would help drive home the message that this is serious sh*t.

IMO, not much difference between 'culture' and 'ethos'.

350:

There are UMX models that fit in the 250g flying weight, but it's problematic getting a camera on board

Double-check regulations for aircraft with cameras. At least one Australian city I checked out (Brisbane, I think, but not certain about that) required permits to fly a sRPAS with a camera. This was an entirely separate restriction from the weight limit (250g).

The new European regulations are also a lot more restrictive for sRPAS with cameras than without. I'm not certain whether that's because of privacy concerns* or a belief** that sRPAS pilots are likely to fly out of visual range when they have a camera to use to control the aircraft.

*Which IMHO are overblown in this case. In a society with near-ubiquitous cameras on smartphones, the presence of a flying cell phone is way more noticeable than someone with their eyes seemingly glued to their screen.

**Possibly true. Some really public idiots on YouTube make a point of posting illegal (and potentially dangerous) flights that they wouldn't be doing if they didn't have a video camera on board (because the video is the whole point of the flight).

351:

Re: COVID-19 & ethics (aka 'religion' for many)

Religion is another face of ethos. Probably because I'm not religious, I hadn't considered how religion (apart from the foaming at the mouth fundie varieties) might factor into this pandemic.

Turns out that strict Muslims and Jews whose dietary laws forbid pork were concerned (i.e., would refuse) about any vaccine that used any pork-derived products. This reduces competition for some of the vaccine options - for now - unless long-term/post-vac results show huge benefits - maybe.

Meanwhile, RCs - and possibly some other Xian groups - fixated on another aspect of vaccine development/production.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/vatican-ok-to-get-virus-vaccines-using-abortion-cell-lines-1.5239911

Haven't seen (looked for) what aspect Buddhists and Hindus find 'ethically' problematic - maybe someone here knows?

The above 5 religions account for a huge chunk of the planet's population's first formal encounter with 'ethics'.

352:

SFReader @ 345 : "* Last time I was in Ottawa, you could only buy wine at 'The Beer Store' or LCBO whereas you could pick up beer and wine at any Hull convenience (dep) or grocery store a few minutes' drive away. (Cheaper, too.)"

You realize, of course, that in that short phrase you have crossed a bridge over the Ottawa river (La rivière des Outaouais) and gone from the province of Ontario to the province of Québec (while staying within Canada's National Capital Region) and thus from a place in Canada where the OHIP card rules medical encounters to a place where another card (La carte d'assurance maladie du Québec) rules medical encounters.

In doing so you went from one medical data system to another. And they are very different data systems.

So, if we can't collect data on you if you had an accident after crossing that bridge even though Ontario and Québec are the two biggest provinces in Canada (in area, population, and size of software industry) and you're in the nation's capital, how can ANYONE expect us to get straight numbers on COVID-19 events from all the provinces put together in order to compare them with the COVID-19 events in Singapore, Viet Nam, Denmark or elsewhere.

This is a comment on data problems and not on getting cheap wine in Québec and cheap gas in Ontario.

353:

It passes my "put your money where your mouth is" test, but not the "is it sufficiently ethical that doctors would accept it" test.

We're discussing an American politician. A country where denying life-saving medical treatment to not-rich people is considered ethical by the very politicians we are discussing. A country where even non-profit hospitals increasingly starve patient care to pay ever-increasing executive salaries.

Possibly your ethical doctor could view it as triage. More lives will be saved by giving the limited vaccine to front-line workers than an actively-obstructive denialist politician, so go with saving more lives. Greatest good for the greatest number and all that.

354:

"The quantum teleportation being described is a transfer of information, not mass."

As I said, that is exactly what it isn't. At MOST, it could be described as the transfer of entropy, but it isn't really any kind of transfer at all.

355:

I've lived in Leeds, Bradford and Liverpool.

I just found the casual writing off of Naples as being less of a big thing than Manchester a bit odd.

356:

Re: 'how can ANYONE expect us to get straight numbers on COVID-19 events'

Exactly! - There's no way the Ottawa mayor can know esp. since the infection stats only identify where the infected person resides not where they got infected. (Contact-tracing data might help identify 'downstream effect' risks associated with such policies assuming such data are ever published.)

This scenario is also common in the most densely populated areas of the US East Coast: people commute between States on a daily basis so if one State locks down its bars, partyers hop over to a neighboring State.

357:

to Heteromeles @331:
They're your view of a future Russia. The good parallel is between the UK in the 1950s and Russia in the 1990s. Who lost their empire better? Do you know yet?

I have to make sure I didn't read that wrong, I though at first about the times of Revolution. Did UK also consider the rest of the colonized world their freeloaders who don't do anything useful and has to be decoupled from economy to get it healthier? Because that is exactly what happened between 1988 and 1991 in USSR, where everybody vehemently stated that to become independent is to become self-sustained and have better. Arguably, it wasn't the only point of view in the same time, but it also appeared to be most popular one.

I mean, probably it is useful to exchange experience for greater chances of survival. So far, hardline nationalists got what they wanted and they still remain in power by a good margin, despite relentless assault of globalism and their own failures. "They would be better off without any government at all" just doesn't stick with these people.

So watch and learn as the wheels turn, and be glad it's been as easy as it has been for you so far.
The moral impact wasn't quite the same as physical one. People can survive famine, war and epidemic, but hardly they can survive a crash of all hopes for the future.

358:

The Naples/Manchester thing is on a similar scale ... until you take into account the cluster of major cities around Manchester. IIRC Naples is prietty big and there are many towns in its vicinity but not cities in the half-million-to-million population range, which Liverpool and Leeds/Bradford are.

359:

Did UK also consider the rest of the colonized world their freeloaders who don't do anything useful and has to be decoupled from economy to get it healthier?

That's actually a pretty good fit for the attitude of the south-east of England towards Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Northern England since roughly 1979 (Thatcher).

That's one of the major reasons why I suspect the UK will disintegrate over the next decade: the Conservatives (who have been the institutional ruling party for the past century) have bought votes by prioritizing narrow regional interests for decades, and in the process have shrunk their idea of the UK from "hub of a global empire" to "Great Britain and trade interests" to "England (and satellites)" towards a tiny corner of England (the stockbroker belt) ...

360:

volcano in Manchester vs Vesuvius

My point was that a volcano in the Manchester area would be a bit of strange geological surprise. Unlike the Naples area.

361:

Yeah, the UK's volcanically active history is about 200My in the past. But that's not the point ...

362:

The SCROTUS will likely keep lawyers employed for the remainder of his life without the Federal DOJ lifting a finger, he's also not getting any younger, or eating right and to borrow from Samuel Clemens, his funeral will be nearly as entertaining as his hanging.

363:

I think the Hebrides are rather younger than 200 My, but I agree, that's not the point.

The interesting thing about the Naples area isn't just Vesuvius and Lake Avernus, it's that the whole place is part of one rather larger volcano, the Campi Flegrei. That's one hell of a plot device, should anyone want to trigger it.

The other oddity of the Campi Flegrei is the Pozzolanic ash it produced, which turns out to be just perfect for making high quality concrete and cement. Which is why the Romans were so good at building with these two.

Getting back to the original post on Kilauea, I have to somewhat disagree with the characterization of rich people getting burned, having been out there in 2018. Yes, a coastal high-end neighborhood did get repaved, and some really good tidepools I spent hours swimming in are no more, sadly.

Thing is, most of those homeowners downstream from Kilauea are not particularly wealthy. The even nastier thing is that have 10-20 meters of lava on your land does not mean you no longer own the land, so you're stuck paying property taxes on it. As a result, when we hiked in to 8 km to see the lava flowing into the ocean (this was pre-eruption, so it was just Halemaumau doing its old drainage), we hiked on a pounded basalt dirt road, across a barren lava field, where people were making dirt roads out of the lava, building shacks and small houses on top of the lava (no services, remember, so they had cisterns, solar panels, and septic systems on top of the rock), and even planting trees like coconuts to bring the flow back to life. It was a fascinating place, and a reminder that a good chunk of Hawai'i is actually a pretty hard place to live. It is on the same latitude as Dubai, after all, and where there's a rain shadow, there's desert. Kilauea's not in a rain shadow, but the new flows are pretty hot and barren nonetheless. Fun place to visit.

364:

"Fun place to visit."

Yes, and Ive read that the Hawaian islands are the only tropical places in the world where there is not a single poisonous animal, on land.

365:

I am tremendously offended by the post I am responding to.

It is immensely egotistical, arrogant, and ignorant. It utterly ignores the close-to-famine conditions that on-and-off hit the FSSR for what, 10-15 years? The utter destruction the collapse created, and the massive suffering, along with the local criminals, and the Western vulture capitalists stealing everything they could get their hands on (and if it wasn't nailed down).

AFAIK, the UK had NOTHING WHATSOEVER like that.

sleepingroutine deserves an apology.

366:

Troutwaxer
LOVE IT: They should be not-seated on the basis that they have declared their own elections to be fraudulent.
I wonder if it would fly?

Geoff Hart @ 348
The Insurance people have been "backing" global warming for some time in their setting of rates ...

Charlie ~ 359
Not even wrong ... but, BUT
It is a good fit for a very narrow section of tories - who, incidentally also want to trash London, because London is "Cosmopolitan" & they are anything but that.
Some people here use the word "Englandshire" - I don't like it, but it has a ring of truth - I've met people living less than 10 miles outside the M25 who have exactly that mind-set.

367:

That's "Teach the bomb Phenomenology", a very specific subset of philosophy, that was obviously imprinted on the script writer.....

368:

You wrote, "scientists shouldn't be allowed to name things without adult supervision."

Next you're going to tell me that no one should be allowed to make up an acronym first, and decide what it means after. And you're going to say they can't be drinking or smoking while doing it.

369:

I wasn't worried about the particulars. But now I'm tempted to set up a situation in a story where "Never teach the bomb about philosophy" is excellent advice, similar to Giles telling Xander that he shouldn't speak Latin in front of the books.

370:

[Canadian COVID numbers questionable]

The thing that particularly bothers me is that this is obvious.

The death rate isn't likely correct but it's not plausibly an under-count. So there should be at least a hundred known sick-with-COVID people per dead-from-COVID person. And you look at the published stats and there's about sixty, and then you go, wait, there should have been a hundred cases per dead person, three and four weeks ago, only if the rate is totally flat and we know it's not flat because the ICU occupancy rate sure isn't flat.

Aha! but these numbers make sense if the region has mostly had cases in long-term care homes, where the COVID mortality rate is significantly higher than 1%.

Until you start trying to figure out how the disease gets into the long term care facilities, yeah.

It feels like we've somehow sent the entire provincial government to a remedial math course with a death penalty, only it's not them dying.

371:

whitroth observed: "Next you're going to tell me that no one should be allowed to make up an acronym first, and decide what it means after. And you're going to say they can't be drinking or smoking while doing it."

Indeed, they should not. If I ran the world, there'd be a short, sharp lesson for some folk. *kidding*

372:

My understanding is that the conditions weren't as bad as you paint, although they were pretty bad. Nonetheless, if I overstepped, I do apologize, especially if he asks.

The point stands, though: being the citizen of an imperium that is falling apart, while sniping at at someone else in the same situation in another imperium, is bad form. Most of us are in that boat, in some part of the cycle (yes, including Canada and Australia)

There's little utility to me lording it over someone from Russia because of American "prowess" in the 1990s. I know how overstretched we are. Ditto lording it over the UK because of the stupidity of Brexit, or the UK lording it over the US for the stupidity of Trump and our two party system. Ditto Putin, Balsonaro, etc. We're all infected with the same illness, and we're just lucky that the plutocrats above us haven't yet been so had their greed so unleashed that they've made the world uninhabitable.

373:

For more background on the RC angle, this question on Skeptics Stack Exchange has more details and links.

https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/48635/are-or-were-aborted-human-fetal-cells-used-in-vaccine-production/48643#48643

374:

At least the new exclusion zone around Mt Ruapehu's crater lake (central North Is NZ, just south of the big lake formed by an eruption 26,500 years ago) doesn't reach as far as the popular path over the adjacent mountain, or ski facilities that are open over summer. There were issues with ash fall on the nearby small city and farmland in the mid-1990s.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/123784314/mt-ruapehu-what-volcanic-unrest-and-the-increased-alert-level-means

375:

Errolwi
Cough
NZ's largest city has a merely "dormant" volcano Mt Rangitoto in the middle of its' main harbour!

376:

You are *no* fun....

377:

I personally attribute most of the trouble to Corn Buffoon (Khrushchev) application of cronyism and party management that finally bore their fruit a generation later.

Back in the day when I was more inclined to have an opinion about such things, I said that it wasn't Khrushchev but Brezhnev who had the last chance to save the USSR. And flubbed it, probably didn't even realize where things were going.

Would you care to compare and contrast Х и Б?

378:

About the plutocrats... an odd thing happened, that I just read about today: psychotic extremist ancient televangelist Pat Robertson has said that the Hairball 'lives in an alternate reality'.

If *he's* saying it... as I said, an odd thing may have happened: the Owners may have looked and seen reality, and drew back. They many not want the US to go to dictatorship, because that *would* mean violence from both sides (let's see just how IED-proof your limo is, or if my home-made GTA missile works as you take off), and realized that at some point, one side or the other will get them.

379:

Not Brisbane, which (like the federal aviation authority, CASA) doesn't really distinguish between traditional RC flight and camera drones. In a way that's the issue: new rules for dealing with the latter are rolling up the former in their scope. It's different if your camera usage is commercial, in which case you need a permit from the city council (and also some sort of accreditation or licence from CASA).

Here's Brisbane's rules, FWIW:

https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/things-to-see-and-do/council-venues-and-precincts/parks/using-council-parks/launching-drones-from-council-parks

In Aus, where a local council doesn't explicitly regulate drones, the (sometimes relatively liberal) CASA rules are the only limits that apply. It looks like the Georges River council which manages the park in Sydney* Moz linked above falls in this category. That currently means there are no registration, permit or accreditation requirements for anything up to 2kg for recreational purposes, but that is changing over the next 2 years: by this time in 2022 all remote aircraft over 250g must be registered and even recreational users of these require a recreational accreditation certificate.

* Brisbane is unusual in Australia in that it is mostly within a single local government area (LGA) and in general LGAs in Queensland are large, with significant amalgamations in 1924 and 2008. Sydney and Melbourne, in contrast, are made up of dozens of LGAs, many of them geographically small.

380:

It's not in the harbour, it's outside! (Just)
My mate the geo-physicist noted that Rangitoto was atypical activity for the Auckland Volcanic Field. A last hurrah, or the start of a new phase?
Hang on, scratch that last bit, earlier evidence re-interpreted in 2018 to suggest that this isn't the case! Isn't science wonderful!
There is a programme to assess volcanic risk in Auckland. Helps answer questions like 'How many days warning are we likely to get of a lava flow cutting the inter-regional electricity connection (note singular) north out of the city".
https://www.devora.org.nz/

381:

We're all infected with the same illness

Yes, I like (or rather, don't like) to think that we started the ball rolling with Tony Abbott, but really there are many balls, it's a multidimensional vortex of awful.

382:

If *he's* saying it... as I said, an odd thing may have happened: the Owners may have looked and seen reality, and drew back. They many not want the US to go to dictatorship, because that *would* mean violence from both sides (let's see just how IED-proof your limo is, or if my home-made GTA missile works as you take off), and realized that at some point, one side or the other will get them.

Well, yesterday I was reading a thought piece from some American Enterprise Institute dude that the Republican party has abandoned principles for Trumpism because they're so weak.

My response is that this was incorrect. It's not that they've been seduced away from the sovereign principles enshrined in the AEI, it's that their principles are failing, and Trump is the demonstration. At the heart of good Republicanism (said without sarcasm) is the idea that their ideology would make for a better world. This also happened with communism, and (neo)liberalism and progressivism* are little better. But ideas about the rich being better, trickle down economics working, less regulation leading to better outcomes, all have failed miserably. Worse, they've proved as easy for authoritarian capture as the communist experiment was in the 1920s.

So what do you do when your ideology has failed? If you're principled, you change your ideology and/or leave, but what about the people you leave behind, who are unprincipled or unwilling to change? That's where the Republicans are now, in my ignorant opinion.

Fortunately (?), a number of them, faced with the possibility of their own imminent death through a fatally botched response to Covid19, are in the process of realizing that sometimes it's better to let go than to go down with.

*Economic progress solves all problems? Pull the other one.

383:

Wouldn't it be more efficient if we just put the volcano in Leeds?

Didn't he already do that?

384:

In Aus, where a local council doesn't explicitly regulate drones, the (sometimes relatively liberal) CASA rules are the only limits that apply

Yep, my local council has a page that says "see CASA"
https://www.cbcity.nsw.gov.au/resident/reporting-local-issues/drone-use

Whereas Georges River Council don't mention them. The local paper reports that a grumpy citizen was told that they'd only had one complaint (which could well be code for "have you considered filing a complaint") and CASA rules apply.
https://www.theleader.com.au/story/4686742/scarborough-park-user-slams-drone-use/

In this case the park is a decent size area of rough grass with not a lot happening 90% of the time. There's also no houses nearby, it's mostly industrial. Downside is there's a lot of mangroves on the river side so retrieving a misdirected model could be ugly (mangroves are notorious for transitioning between firm if wet mud and deep soft mud between one step and the next). It's more convenient to get to than any of the official club fields, so I'll probably use it until someone comes and chases me away.

385:

whitroth @365:
AFAIK, the UK had NOTHING WHATSOEVER like that.

Vulture capitalism as the root of a problem has taken a lot from all of us, if I gather it right. And if it takes apart the UK in coming years, I only merely see it as karmic retribution.

sleepingroutine deserves an apology.

I did take it o more personal level - I don't need an apology for what happened to me and my family, it is all on our shoulders. Same goes for the rest of the country - what happened, happened. I am, however, also a patriotic person as of today, and I would seek an apology from those who orchestrated today's situation.

https://spacenews.com/meet-dmitry-rogozin-the-new-roscosmos-chief/
Not only did they severe the last chance to cooperation in space between two largest powers, they are also gloating about sanctioning "loud hawk" for being too loud for their liking. I think it is fair to say that we have had enough and it is time to consider our options. First step - consider to knock ISS down from orbit since this rusting piece of metal has no solid foundation for existence, not anymore.

Allen Thomson @377:
Back in the day when I was more inclined to have an opinion about such things, I said that it wasn't Khrushchev but Brezhnev who had the last chance to save the USSR. And flubbed it, probably didn't even realize where things were going.

Having the last chance to save something isn't quite the same as causing the situation in the first place. Brezhnev's epoch have created most of what we have been reliant on for last half-century. Though many people consider "stability" as a major synonym for "backwardness", let them have it, just because most of them can't tell the difference between first derivative and the second. On my part, for the record, the notorious Lysenko and his obsolete views weren't ousted for the trouble he caused until 10 years later, so you can catch my drift.

386:

the idea that their ideology would make for a better world

The general difficulty appears to be supposing you don't have to argue about what "better world" means, and how you could tell. The argument can be resolved by the names of axioms.

387:

Re: RC - embryo research

Thanks! - Unfortunately one of the security apps put up a big 'do not enter' flag for what looked to be the most relevant link. However a search did pull the below. Not RC, just a summary of the current AMA position on this. I'm guessing that given the internationalism of the bio/medical research community, most countries' medical associations have a similar set of guidelines.

https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ethics/research-using-human-fetal-tissue

388:

I’m less optimistic than you. I think he’s just outlived his usefulness.

389:

most of them can't tell the difference between first derivative and the second.

Well said. I'm going to steal that phrase.

Heading up isn't the same as curving down.

390:

So what do you do when your ideology has failed? If you're principled, you change your ideology and/or leave, but what about the people you leave behind, who are unprincipled or unwilling to change?

Based on what I watch happen in the US Evangelical community, most folks double, triple, or quadruple down.

Young Earth Creationism (YEC) has always been around in many fundamental circles. But it was only in the last 20 years as the internet, better science educations prior to college, and other things that believers got forced to choose. Most went with those "facts" are bogus or a part of a world wide scientific conspiracy against "our" faith. Of which Ken Han is the apostle of the movement. At least in the US and some other English speaking places.

I've speculated in other places that this situation / mindset set up the current anti-vaxer, covid-19 is fake, mask can't stop a virus, etc... At least in the Evangelical and US MEANS FREEDOM communities.

391:

I just thought it would be important to check that you knew the rules for your location before buying an aircraft. It would suck to buy a model you couldn't fly locally.

392:

Er, no. The rocks in Lewis are the oldest in the British Isles, and the last volvanic ones are about 1,400 million years old!

393:

Regrettably true, but it did NOT start with Thatcher! The deliberate impoverishment of Cornwall for the benefit of the south-east (mainly London) goes back as far as I can remember (the 1960s).

394:

As far as I am concerned, Russians are welcome to snipe at the UK - it's not as if our local attempts have had any effect. People from the USA less so, because a lot of our woes have been deliberately inflicted to benefit the USA. Note that I am NOT saying 'by the USA', though some have been, because most of them have been by nominally UK citizens.

395:

a lot of our woes have been deliberately inflicted to benefit the USA

Oh, the "special relationship".

Its like Britannia clinging to Uncle Sam's arm while he's talking to someone else, and she's saying "Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam. I'm still special, aren't I? Aren't I?". And he says "Yes, of course you are. Now shut up and leave me in peace."

In Washington D.C. $5 and a special relationship will get you a cappuccino.

396:

The other question, not answered that I've seen, is, "what are you trying to do?"

Is it something specific that a one time renting a doors off helicopter for an hour would solve? Would you be better off buying high resolution satellite images?

Is it art, in which case the restriction of flying out of a park has you stymied?

Sometimes what looks initially like a nail, that sparks a hunt for the right hammer, turns out on closer inspection to be a screw.

397:

EC
Wrong
London was royally shafted, twice, during the period 1970-1985, but the recovery was swift. Hint: Thatcher hated us.
Cornwall was written off at about 1947, I think - though 1966 was the real date it all happened ( Closure of Exeter-Plymouth via Okehampton & Tavistock )
Karmic retribution that's at least 4 generations late - isn't. It's just more shit.

398:

Meanwhile good news for the future!
(Quote) As in the Roaring 20s, which followed the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, society will revert to an era of indulgence, with Dr Christakis predicting that there will be a surge in “sexual licentiousness" as well as a “reverse of religiosity.”
Sounds good to me!

399:

"their principles are failing, and Trump is the demonstration"
It's not even quite this. I can't understand why you'd rather be an oligarch in Putin's Russia than Obama's (Biden's) America.
Sure there is a (low) risk of some wealth being redistributed. But no one is going to storm your bus-jet and imprison you for funding the wrong candidate. I don't get why all the oligarch-money isn't going to save the republic (and Biden is Save-the-Republic right now

400:

So, bring back the late sixties and early seventies, and let everyone suddenly realize that they don't *have* to answer the pollsters the way they think they're supposed to, and tell them "ain't religious".

And the percentage shoots over 60%, and the Christian Satanists heads explode.

401:

The immediate prompt was looking at an aerial photo from the 1970s and going "I wonder what that looks like now", but it fed into an ongoing interest. I tend to have a pile of stuff I'd quite like to do in the back of my mind, and I like to mull over various options over a year or two before I actually commit to anything. I've been watching the drone market for a while, I bought a $50 mini quadcopter a few years ago and played with that until I got sick of it (then put it out on the front gate with a note saying "free, working" and it wasn't there the next day). Back when I was a kid I flew RC gliders a bit but the IC motors were primitive and unreliable so I bought an electric offroader but they're boring. My school friend who was into that stuff kept building things and now owns an actual human-carrying glider... I'm not going there :)

Much thinking has led me to think that my eventual goal is a ~1.5m flying wing with FPV and at least one downward-facing camera. But I will almost certainly change that view as I get experience with the hobby. http://moz.geek.nz/mozbike/ documents a vaguely similar process taking me from "I want to try a recumbent" to... gee, recumbents take up a lot of space in the shed". I kind of want to avoid spending a lot of time writing code to make it all go, but I'm aware that is inevitable even just at the "python script to automate the tool chain for my exact setup", if not the "import 3 video files, time sync and stitch them to get one, software-stabilised stereoscopic 8k video".

I'm aware that I have a shed full of similar projects and a bad record when it comes to accepting that I'm over a given thing and selling it... OTOH I also have a bad record of selling stuff then wanting it back two years later. My TIG welder especially. Which is one of those "once a year, for two hours" tools but not having it means that two hours becomes 20 hours if I can do the task at all (I ended up paying a CNC shop earlier in the year, $150 for a bit of heat treated aluminium as a bracket that holds 3 things in place in the shed... bah!).

402:

Um... that was the whole point of the joke.

403:

I can't understand why you'd rather be an oligarch in Putin's Russia than Obama's (Biden's) America.

A lot of oligarchs, particularly the ones who inherited their wealth as opposed to making it from scratch, literally never think of anything bad happening to them. Not "cannot imagine", more like "never occurs". For their entire life nothing bad ever happened to them, so the thought of it simply never enters their minds.

When deciding which policy to back, they might consider factors such as their personal chances of catching Covid-19, but not their personal chances of going to jail, let alone being shot. Such things simply do not occur in their world.

I am not saying such worldview is realistic, nor that it is universal among oligarchs, but it is fairly common. Indeed, DJT exemplifies it.

404:

I wanted to say thanks to the commentariat for the thread about drone/RC piloting.
I do have a specific use for one: I want to look for (and count) bittern with it. And water rails, and snipe, and other animals in reed beds. It's really hard to look through a reed bed horizontally; vertically, not so much. (If the thing is a disturbance, I'd have to abandon the idea.)

It will all have to wait till I have some spare income, but I'm doing the thinking now :)

405:

In case it's not obvious, the cost difference between traditional gear and the cheap stuff is *huge*. You can get a ready-to-fly fixed wing kit with everything bar the camera for ~$US200 from banggood/aliexpress/ebay, or you can pay more than that for one of multiple bits. It is likely worth buying the $200 version just to see if that works for you before going down the $1000+ path... quadcopters not so much because they're basically China-only until you get into commercial ones so it's model X from china for $200, or from a local supplier for $500... in OZ at least the latter comes with a warranty and perhaps most usefully a guarantee that it's legal ("or your money back").

406:

David L @ 74:

The US carries out massive voter suppression and gerrymandering; if it weren't for that, the US would be mostly blue.

Not so much. Maybe a few states would flip.

I've been gerrymandered for the 30 years I've lived in NC. The first 20 by D's. The next 8 by R's. Then the last 2 sort of not per court orders. We really are a 50/50 state. Well 40/40 + 20 no affiliation per registration rolls but anyway we tend to vote with 52/48 being a big win.

I've been gerrymandered for the 30 years I've lived in NC. The first 20 by D's. The next 8 by R's. Then the last 2 sort of not per court orders. We really are a 50/50 state. Well 40/40 + 20 no affiliation per registration rolls but anyway we tend to vote with 52/48 being a big win.

In 2010 we had 10Rs and 3Ds due to gerrymandering. But after all the lawsuits we got re-draw again.

In our last election with court ordered and supported mostly by both sides districts we still wound up with 8Rs and 5Ds. And it would be mostly impossible to come up with a different result without the crazy gerrymandering the D's used to do where two towns were connected via miles of an Interstate highway median strip. Here the D's clump into a few metro areas and the R's are in the rural areas. And you just can't draw a map without crazy connections and come up with 13 competitive districts

The gerrymandering wasn't quite as blatent before Nixon's "Southern Strategy". I used to work for a guy who sued North Carolina over redistricting every 10 years like clockwork, back when the North Carolina Republican Party was only him, Jesse Helms and two other guys who worked in Helm's office in Raleigh. When it's only one party it's hard to gerrymander to keep your own party from winning an election.

That "two towns ... connected via miles of an Interstate highway median strip" 12th district didn't really have anything to do with PARTISAN Gerrymandering. It was drawn following the 1990 Census in response to a DoJ order under Voting Rights Act Preclearance to create two "majority minority" (African American) districts.

The other "majority minority" district was North Carolina's 1st District. Basically, after the 1991 DoJ order, North Carolina's first & last districts were "gerrymandered" to be "majority minority" (ensuring North Carolina will have at least 2 African American representatives) and have remained that way even after North Carolina gained a 13th seat in the House, although now - since the Republicans drove African Americans out and into the Democratic party the 1st & 12th are primarily gerrymandered for partisan purposes.

1Three guesses who the Attorney General was when the DoJ ghettoized North Carolina's black voters, and if you didn't guess Bill Barr (yeah THAT Bill Barr), try again.

407:

Thanks. That prunes a huge tree of suggestions that I was thinking about that were quite useless. So even if I now have not much to add, I'm not going to add a lot of noise (particularly useful, the "I don't want a human carrying glider").

408:

Robert Prior @ 77:

I suspect that as a 'front line' health worker I'll be close to the frontish part of the line

One hopes so. I suspect I'll be pretty close to the end of the line, unless they roll down age cohorts once they finish the essential/at risk folks. A lot of the public health advice we got in the spring used 70 as an 'age of concern', so while I'm four times more likely to suffer negative outcomes than someone in their 20s, I'm probably not old enough to get vaccinated ahead of the general rush.

I had a telephone appointment with Radiation Oncology at the Durham VA today; semi-annual follow-up to see how my prostate cancer is progressing. The good news is it's NOT. My PSA was 0.02 (or maybe it was 0.002? - anyway very, VERY low, indicating I have no active cancer cells).

The Nurse Practitioner I usually see (who I talked to on the telephone) told me the Durham VA got it's first batch of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday and that the medical staff & high risk in-patients in the long term care (nursing home) wards were being vaccinated this week.

She said the next tier would go to 75+ Y.O. veterans in higher risk categories.

Third tier should start phasing out to the outpatient clinics & I should be hearing from them to schedule my vaccination in the late January or February time frame, so my prior estimate of when I'll get it looks to be pretty accurate.

409:

I do have a specific use for one: I want to look for (and count) bittern with it.

How skittish are bittern?

Quadcopters are noisy. Recreational models have wide-angle cameras, so getting in close enough to see a bittern might mean you are low enough to disturb them.

I watched the "Making Of" segment to Our Planet and it looked like they were using a DJI Inspire 2 for a lot of their aerial sequences. It has a much better camera (several options available) that you'll find on a consumer model but is also quite expensive.

410:

Just get Leonard of Quirm to do it. For example, what we are talking about here is quite obviously a Transferring-Not-Quite-Sure-What-But-Quite-Probably-Nothing-At-All-Over-44km-Using-Quantum Device.

411:

Allen Thomson @ 78:

Ahem ... DT's been moving along the 'de-naturalization' continuum for some time now.

No, DT, being a natural-born citizen, isn't subject to denaturalization, though the terminology is confusing. He can have his passport revoked unilaterally by the USG for any reason or none, but that doesn't affect citizenship. He could renounce his citizenship himself, or have it revoked if found guilty of treason, which does bring up the Russia thing. But treason is tough to prove.

Well, they'll never get him on the "levying War" clause 'cause the chicken-shit wouldn't ever serve, but I expect there might be a fair amount of evidence out there relating to the "adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort" clause. Seems like people kind of slough over that, but AFAIK, most of the actual convictions for Treason that have been upheld have been under that latter clause.

412:

How skittish are bittern? Quadcopters are noisy.

That's why the discussion has only mentioned quadcopters to rule them out.

413:

Sure there is a (low) risk of some wealth being redistributed. But no one is going to storm your bus-jet and imprison you for funding the wrong candidate. I don't get why all the oligarch-money isn't going to save the republic (and Biden is Save-the-Republic right now

In addition to the already mentioned "it won't happen to me" group, there is also the group who don't care because if things get that bad they plan to leave - hence the purchases of property in the Caribbean, New Zealand, etc.

Many of them assume that when their mining of money out of the country hits the tipping point they will simply board their private jet and fly to safety.

414:

The bittern's standard method is to sit still and look like a bunch of reeds until you're almost on top of it.

Camera lenses can be changed. There seem to be two or three basic "standards" for very small Chinese cameras. The not-quite-the-smallest ones you can buy alternative lenses of different focal length on ebay without too much problem. The very tiny ones that are about 5mm square you have to look at customer reviews and see which devices have got some nipple complaining that it's not a wide angle lens, because the text of the listing is usually wrong, then get the whole device and swap the lenses over, but we're talking about less than a tenner for a camera plus battery, CPU, SD card holder and case, so they're more or less disposable. (I've dismantled several of them to use the guts in other projects and managed to break most of them in the process without upsetting myself too much.)

Some of those are things like a 25mm cube that weighs next to nothing and can record for half an hour or so, so you could stick them onto an existing aircraft and use them as they are. Trouble is they are all desperate to claim 30fps capability but the CPU (which IIRC is an 8051oid plus hardware encoder) isn't quite up to it, so they bodge it by duplicating frames, which is shit. I don't know if the ones you actually get with aircraft have the same problem, but I wouldn't be surprised if the guts are the same, so it's worth checking out.

415:

You might want to consider balloon-based or even kite-based cameras rather than quadcopters for that sort of task. A reasonably-sized helium balloon will lift a 200-gram package of camera, transmitter and batteries while tethered by a light line a couple of hundred metres above your area of investigation without noise, licencing and constant recovery and replacement of battery packs for multiple flights.

416:

Many of them assume that when their mining of money out of the country hits the tipping point they will simply board their private jet and fly to safety.

With the kind of tipping points we've been discussing they better make sure that either THEY or a group of close friend own/control the airport being used.

417:

It would suck to buy a model you couldn't fly locally.

Oh, it definitely would, and thank you :). I wondered where you'd got the impression and think I uncovered it (the "filming for commercial purposes" thing). It's interesting comparing how things are going in different places, because new rules coming in all over the world for camera drones seem to be rolling up other forms of flying object too.

418:

<deadpan> Joke? </deadpan>

Oh look, a squirrel!

419:

so getting in close enough to see a bittern might mean you are low enough to disturb them.

And risk getting... bitten.

Good lord, another squirrel! Where *are* they all coming from?

420:

Heteromeles @ 84: I think the only (minor) surprise was that Agent Orange couldn't even figure out how to use a 70-odd page, simple playbook to rally the CDC, NIH, and cruise to re-election as the hero who stopped the pandemic. I've got a copy of the play book, and it's literally fill in the blank: get these people together, ask them these questions, here's what to do with their responses. Doesn't get more cookbook than that.

Only a colossal, shambling incompetent could screw that up. And guess what...

He didn't have that "playbook" when Covid 19 came around. His highest priority when he assumed office in 2017 was to trash anything Obama had accomplished in the previous two terms. They burned the "playbook" and fired all the players in 2017.

To drop the sarcasm for a moment, if I wanted him hauled up on charges, this is the one he needs to answer for. He had multiple opportunities to do the right thing and/or fix things, and he deliberately threw away every single one, causing hundreds of thousands of people to die of his negligence. If a military officer can go to prison for less, why shouldn't he?

Those would be Federal charges & there's nigh on certainty he's going to pardon himself before he's kicked out of the White House on January 20, so there won't be any Federal charges.

If he's going to be held to account, it's going to have to be done by State or Local prosecutors or with civil suits from identifiable victims of his direct actions - women he's assaulted or investors & consumers he's swindled.

Possibly someone could bring a civil class action against Trump in the Federal Courts for "honest services fraud", but in all likelihood, if it wasn't rejected by the District Court, or one of the Circuit Courts, the SCOTUS would reject it out of hand.

421:

There's a whole genre of "scope cams" that have quite long lenses on them. This issue is stabilising the long lens, but that's not insurmountable going by various RC forum posts talking about using them. If nothing else those can be a source of longer lenses for any action cam with a compatible mount (something makes me think that there are both 12mm metric fine and 1/2" x 120tpi left hand Whitworth 67° options 🤪)

https://shop.runcam.com/runcam-scope-cam/

(note that a 30mm lens on an 8mm sensor is equivalent to 140mm on a 35mm sensor... but you would need to check the actual diagonal of your actual sensor as well as the thread size on the lens mount)

422:

Just a note. I am really far behind reading & responding. It's going to take me a while to catch up, but I just had to take some time off to do some work here around the house and none of it could be done sitting here at the computer.

OTOH, I do have heat again and clean underwear & socks, so it was time well spent.

423:

That's a good idea. Lots of birds get freaked out by something with wings flying over them.

I just tried to get prices for helium and hydrogen. BOC wouldn't tell me how much hydrogen is. Apparently I have to buy it first, then they'll tell me. Its a "restricted product" according to Ben on the chat line. Helium was 602.17 plus GST for a G size. Plus 75c/d cylinder rental.

424:

Helium you might be better off paying the 'party supplies" markup, or at least getting a price from them to see what your worst case numbers are. When we looked a few years ago it ended up being cheaper because we could hire for the one day we actually wanted it.

FWIW I've found larger kites tend to freak a lot of birds out, the noise as much as anything else. We used to loft disposable cameras with RC servos to trigger them and a few times we struggled with birds (we were trying to take aerial photos of landscape features back before using a quadcopter to survey climbing routes was a thing)

425:

Charlie Stross @ 95:

A distraction will be needed, and it will backfire as it always does.

Disagree.

There's so much shit lying around everywhere that the Biden admin will have their work cut out for the first six months just sweeping it off the sidewalks and into the streets.

And that's assuming the Democrat candidates take those two Georgia senate seats in the run-off. If they don't? Four years of gridlock ahoy!

It's not so much that the U.S. went nuts in October as the Republicans began to see the writing on the wall and started doing everything they could to hamstring a potential Biden administration and have continued post election to do everything they can to destroy the institutions of government the incoming administration will need to rescue the country.

And I ran across another interesting thought about the U.S. Senate today - whether he's majority leader or minority leader, after January 20, 2021 Moscow Mitch is going to have a NEW BOSS, Kamala Harris!

426:

Geoff Hart @ 103:

Graydon wrote: "It takes ~60 days for the mRNA vaccines to build to full immunity"

Can you provide a reference to support that statement? Makes sense, but I did a quick Google and didn't find anything. I'd like an authoritative reference before I spread that info to friends and family.

When I talked to the Nurse Practitioner at the VA today, she told me that if I get the Pfizer vaccine, I'll get the second shot three weeks later, but if I get the Moderna vaccine the second shot will come 4 weeks later. Don't know how that fits in to the ~60 days, but it might be information you can use.

427:

Graydon @ 175: Herd immunity cannot be achieved without vaccination.

Sure it can. It just takes longer and more people have to get sick and die (or actually get sick & survive). How do you think Europe got over the Black Death? They didn't have vaccines for that ... back then.

It's a term of art from veterinary science; the point of "herd immunity" is to determine how much you need to vaccinate. (If you're trying to catch ALL the free-range ungulates, you have a much worse job than if you only need to catch four-fifths.)

Really; not even with smallpox, where you could only get it once. SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus; you probably don't stay immune more than about three years, even if you had a severe case.

Smallpox was declared eradicated by the WHO in 1980. But before we went to Iraq, my entire brigade got a smallpox vaccination in mid-December 2003, or another smallpox vaccination if we were old enough to have received the vaccine as children. I had the vaccination some time before September 1955 when I entered the first grade. It was mandatory before you could start U.S. public schools.

Fucked up my Christmas leave because I was not allowed to see my family because I had a nephew and a brand new niece (less than 6 months old) and the Army instructed us we could have no contact with anyone who had not been vaccinated for two weeks after our vaccination. Spent a week at home alone while the whole rest of the world partied.


428:

Paul @ 209: Chinese history over the next few decades is going to be interesting to watch from a safe distance.

Maybe, if you can find anywhere on earth that IS a "safe distance"

429:

mdlve @ 254:

However, if the authorities do not go after the person leaving office for what an even larger segment of the population believes are prosecutable offenses this will send the message to everyone that politicians have a free pass to do anything without fear of consequences.

For the record, I think (despite the danger that no conviction would result) that Trump should be pursued for all the various things he did in office - on the assumption that they actually were illegal - to (as noted) set an example to those that follow.

But the problem is prosecuting and getting convictions in these type of cases is very difficult - it's easy to say with a wave of hands that X is guilty of Y, it's another thing entirely to prove it in a court of law. So I can see the people at the Justice Department taking a look at the case, weighing the evidence they have available, and declining to prosecute.

And, as always, it is easy from the sidelines to say damn the side effects and prosecute - it is going to be another thing entirely when you personally can in the future be subject to retaliatory prosecution when you leave office.

Y'all are still missing the most important factor.

Trumpolini is almost certainly going to issue himself a Presidential Pardon to road-block any Federal prosecution of crimes he committed either before or while he was in office.

While I expect a self pardon to be challenged in the courts, I also expect it will rapidly make it to the Supreme Court of the U.S., and that they will sustain it (most likely in one of those Per curiam "shadow docket" decisions Roberts is so fond of).

If he's going to be prosecuted, it's going to have to come from State and/or Local prosecutors, with perhaps a slim chance the Feds could go after him for Federal crimes he commits AFTER he leaves office subsequent to his self pardon.

430:

Elderly Cynic @ 274:

"I wouldn't mind if a lovely, if strange, woman lying in a pond gave me a sword."

I would, because I would know that it came with a responsibility to sort out the mess the country is in!

Well ... if THEY would let me USE the sword ... responsibly of course ... I would make short work of a goodly number of the causes of that mess.

431:

Niala @ 288: Charlie Stross @ 286

So, the Collapse of the USSR had nothing to do with the relative potency of the arsenals of the USA and the USSR?

Perhaps a little as the cost of maintaining the relative potency of those arsenals bankrupted the economy.

432:

If a xenogynospathodonatist loans you one of her swords without the proper scabbard, it's a sucker deal. These days the scabbard's probably more useful than the cutlery.

433:

after our vaccination. Spent a week at home alone while the whole rest of the world partied.

Think of it as practice for later?

434:

While I expect a self pardon to be challenged in the courts, I also expect it will rapidly make it to the Supreme Court of the U.S., and that they will sustain it (most likely in one of those Per curiam "shadow docket" decisions Roberts is so fond of).

Actually, per a talking-head law professor, this is dubious. His reasoning is that the right of pardon antedates American law by quite a ways. It's part of English common law, and is one of the basic rights of kings. That said, kings are never allowed to pardon themselves, because that would place them above the law.

This is probably the bigger argument. After all, if the Supreme Court rules that a President can pardon themselves for any action undertaken, even one that violates the Constitution, we'll be living in a monarchy, not a constitutional republic. That would be the end of their power as a court, and I don't think they're that stupid.

The bigger problem is that they'd hand this power to Biden, not to Trump, unless they nullify the election, which they won't.

Trump's best shot is to resign the day of Biden's inauguration, have Pence be President for an hour or three, and pardon Trump of everything. That would be legal, but then again, Pence would be on sacrificing his political career for Trump, and it's not clear he's that much of a Renfield. He could knife Trump's political career by simply failing to pardon him in time, let Trump take the falls, and campaign for president in 2024 as the hero who saved the Republic or some such.

Regardless, you're quite correct that Trump's going to be spending an inordinate amount of time in the state of New York after he leaves office. Conceivably, a bunch of states and municipalities could try him separately for criminal negligence, based on how many people died in their district due to his handling of the coronavirus.

And regardless

435:

Actually, I'm not sure what to call this form of government:

I think it's something like a xenogynospathothaumodanocracy. But it could be a gynoxenospathothaumodanocracy.

While it's not commonly practiced today, analogous systems were implemented fairly widely (and with indifferent success) by the intelligence agencies of the great powers. They didn't loan magic swords, though.

436:

How do you think Europe got over the Black Death? They didn't have vaccines for that ... back then.

So far as I know, we don't today, either, though we to have effective antibiotic treatments for it if it is recognised in time. (Avoid ground squirrels in the US West. I believe some areas in Mongolia, too.)

By the standard chronology, plague arrives in Europe in 1347; the last major European outbreak is in 1720, in Marseilles. That's 370 years. Call it eleven generations. That's not herd immunity; that's a selective filter. (and indeed that selective filter is detectable today in genetic analysis).

Given the anecdata about strokes, given the "welp, that's another set of shredded organs" "no transplants from people who've had COVID" policy mutterings, and given the ~10% prompt mortality rate in the absence of a modern hospital, I would say that COVID-19 looks like a selection event disease. Lots of novel diseases are, after all, and it's certainly giving the impression that it can affect your reproductive fitness.

437:

Avoid ground squirrels in the US West.

We call them Gophers.

438:

I will point out that, while I'm quite aware of the risk around ground squirrels, I know people who have had them on the property for decades without dying of black death. They can be infected, but they aren't all infected.

439:

I think you meant to point that at Graydon.

But yes. It is my understanding the biggest problem with Gophers is horses and cattle stepping into a Gopher hole and breaking a leg.

440:

Lots of birds get freaked out by something with wings flying over them.

It depends on the shape. Hawks have their wings near the front, while geese have their wings nearer the back. So if you can create a drone with wings near the back (maybe with a canard for stabilisation?) then its going to be a lot less disturbing to waterfowl.

(Ancient "A" level biology suddenly bears fruit)

441:

AFAIK, the UK had NOTHING WHATSOEVER like that.

Not yet.

I note that Tesco (the largest supermarket chain in the UK) just announced they'd extend rationing to rice, eggs, toilet paper, and a few other staples in the next day or two -- this is part of their Brexit and COVID19 planning. Meanwhile consumers have been told to expect shortages of lettuce, broccoli, and citrus fruits over the next days.

And we haven't even hit the Brexit transition deadline yet: next year is going to be bumpy over here.

442:

if the Supreme Court rules that a President can pardon themselves for any action undertaken, even one that violates the Constitution, we'll be living in a monarchy, not a constitutional republic.

Well, there's opportunity for much finer hair splitting than that. What you're really talking about there is Rule of Law (as opposed to Rule of Man), something that monarchies can (and do!) have just as well as republics. The common (but not absolute, and there are various opinions as you might imagine) consensus is that the last British monarch for whom the version of monarchy you describe pertained was Charles I, and a funny thing happened to him... The term that encompasses what you're looking for is "absolute monarchy", but there's more hair splitting in the category of "necessary but insufficient" and "sufficient but not necessary" conditions.

Arguably Rome ambled on as a republic in form as well as name for a generation or so from the Marius/Sulla era to the First Triumvirate. Of course it's messy, Caesar was Marius' nephew and the sharp escalation of political violence, or rather the rise of violence against political enemies as a tool for politicians to achieve their goals, was the major Marian innovation. There are parallels, but the alarms they ring as less urgent, speaking to a future event. That's not to say there isn't reason for alarm, of course, far from it.

443:

Wow. I had no idea! Thanks. That's really interesting.

444:
So if you can create a drone with wings near the back (maybe with a canard for stabilisation?)

Waterfowl aren't going to be freaked out by a flying thing impaling a duck?

445:

To be fair, Hawke/Goose Effect *sounds* like it ought to be a reference to a former Australian Prime Minister...

446:

A bit of googling turned up this:

https://www.flugmodellbau-kirch.de/Zusatz-Artikel-FMT.htm

Its in German, and it looks like an enthusiast's experiment, but it does suggest that such a thing would be possible.

447:

I can assure you that there was a LOT more to it than that, both before and during the Thatcher years, and there is strong evidence that such suppression was deliberate and indirect evidence that it was for the benefit of the London area.

448:

This is really interesting. Oddly enough, there are FPV drones shaped ike the "goose" profile. There are quite odd looking things like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeoOnuMQOiQ

But there is also a sort of continuum between "flying wing" and "deltoid jet fighter" shapes, where there is a bit of fuselage forward of the wing. There's also the "twin boom" style of thing familiar from wartime P38s, but where the diminutive tailplane is supported by two narrow spars, and therefore might be ignored by birds, or at least, not trigger the "hawk" response.

449:

EC ( 447 )
As a lifelong Londoner, I disagree - we got thoroughly crapped-on.
( Abolition of the GLC, anyone? The attempted & nearly-successful demolition of "London Transport"? )

450:

You have absolutely NO conception of how thoroughly Cornwall was deliberately kept poor so that holidays and second homes there could be kept cheap. I will give you just two examples of many:

Even in the 1970s, it was impossible to make a telephone call out of most of Cornwall to ANYWHERE else outside working hours - no, the operator could NOT connect me, because there was no mechanism to do so. And, even in working hours, all such calls had to be made through the operator, and I remember when they had to be booked in advance, often for the next day. How the hell could a company operate from there? At a similar time, I knew companies who moved from other parts of England to London, because it was CHEAPER - due to the punitive pricing of telephone calls from elsewhere.

When there was a requirement to stop emitting raw sewage to sea, Thatcher required that the permanent residents of the poorest area in England (yes, Cornwall) pay the ENTIRETY of the cost, refused to subsidise any of the cost, and explicitly FORBADE any kind of visitor, caravan park or second home tax, despite the demonstrable fact that the problem was caused almost entirely by the summer emmet influx, which TRIPLED the population of the county.

No, you privileged sods in London have NO idea what it is to be throughly crapped on.

451:

there might be a fair amount of evidence out there relating to the "adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort" clause

You could be right -- it certainly appears there's something about Russia that terrifies Trump and "Aid and Comfort" is a plausible candidate for what that might be. Whether Russia could or should be considered an Enemy for legal purposes is a thorny question best left up to lawyers and the courts.

452:

"In addition to the already mentioned "it won't happen to me" group, there is also the group who don't care because if things get that bad they plan to leave - hence the purchases of property in the Caribbean, New Zealand, etc."

Remember that these people, almost by definition, are people for Whom the Rules Do Not Apply.

They've all gotten away with more than enough stuff to get all of us here life sentences.

They'll believe in consequences when they feel them for the first time.

453:

Barry @ 452

Sooner or later one of those who think rules do not apply to them get too greedy, and they end up in jail.

Look at what happened to Conrad Black, or the Right Honourable Lord Black of Crossharbour, member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom since 2002.

He was careless, and he ended up in a jail, in the U.S. :

File:Conrad Black mug shot.jpg

Trump pardoned him in 1919, but the story isn't over yet.

454:

Greg & Elderly Cynic - Cornwall vs London

I think it's fair to say your both right and wrong.

The point (I think) that it getting lost in the argument is that London != those who benefited from impoverishing the south-west.

Rather, it was a subset of London - the well off "respectable" bankers and the mid-level and up employees of the financial institutions - who benefited from the deliberate attempts at making the south-west (and likely other parts of the UK) poor to create affordable second homes.

But that isn't the same as saying London, because the vast majority of people living in London did not benefit - because they were too poor to be able to afford a second home.

And for that majority in London, the actions taken against London were just as bad as the actions taken against Cornwall and others - because the goal was to not just make Cornwall nice for the rich bankers, but also London.

455:

"This is probably the bigger argument. After all, if the Supreme Court rules that a President can pardon themselves for any action undertaken, even one that violates the Constitution, we'll be living in a monarchy, not a constitutional republic. That would be the end of their power as a court, and I don't think they're that stupid. "

Note that Biden won't abuse this much, since Democrats simply don't do that.

What might factor in SCOTUS' calculations is that *everything that Trump has done* is now normalized for the next GOP president.

Trump has demonstrated what a GOP president can get away with, politically and legally, with no important consequences for him. The next GOP president will work from that, and almost everybody in the GOP Congress will support him, as well as 100% of the (non-fired) executive branch appointed officials.

456:

"Sooner or later one of those who think rules do not apply to them get too greedy, and they end up in jail."

'Sooner or later' is incorrect here, IMHO. It's 'occasionally', or 'rare bad luck'.

457:

Look at what happened to Conrad Black, or the Right Honourable Lord Black of Crossharbour, member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom since 2002.

In a way though he is a good/bad example - his punishments were very minor, short lasting, and he stepped back into his old life as if nothing had happened.

458:

Camera lenses can be changed.

Quadcopters rely on a gimbal to stabilize the camera, and those are finicky and require careful balancing. I've been looking at getting filters for my Mavic 2, and even a simple filter requires a counterbalance.

459:

While I expect a self pardon to be challenged in the courts, I also expect it will rapidly make it to the Supreme Court of the U.S., and that they will sustain it (most likely in one of those Per curiam "shadow docket" decisions Roberts is so fond of).

Pre-election I think many could have been persuaded of this - many/most fell into the line of thinking that Trump had bought and paid for his own personal Supreme Court, combined with the Republican stacking of other levels of the judiciary.

But post-election I'm not so sure about that. The judges, many of them appointed by either by a previous Republican government or Trump, have been very dismissive of Trump efforts to steal the election - up to and including the Supreme Courts refusal to even pretend to look at the various attempts.

So I would agree, the Supreme Court will look at if Trump attempts it and I would currently lean towards the Supreme Court saying no to his attempt at being above the law.

460:

I wondered where you'd got the impression and think I uncovered it (the "filming for commercial purposes" thing).

No, it was definitely just "drone with a camera" without anything about the purpose. City regulations, not CASA. Said city only had two parks you could fly.

Not important, as long as it's not your city.

461:

mdlve @ 457: "his punishments were very minor, short lasting, and he stepped back into his old life as if nothing had happened."

I don't think so. He was in jail for years and he had to sell nearly all his homes around the world in order to pay the courts and his lawyers.

462:

(Avoid ground squirrels in the US West. I believe some areas in Mongolia, too.)

Marmots carry it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/15/teenage-boy-dies-plague-mongolia-after-eating-marmot

463:

Speaking of balloon based, how about tying one with a string to a quad-copter? With careful flying (always towing the balloon, not pushing it in front) it can be positioned upwind of the area you want to photograph, then glide silently over without scaring the birds.

Though that seems somewhat hackish; the idea naturally leads to blimps / Zeppelins. I remember that at work we had a toy RC mylar party balloon with a two fan drive underneath, which people would fly through the office.

Online searching reveals they do exist, see eblimp.com. 3m to 12m long! And there's that Spektrum radio system again. Lots of camera options, and you can drop things too.

464:

mdive
I think you may be correct.

( NOT ) Getting away with it ...
Let's also remember Johnathan Aitken - went to jail ....

465:

JP aeronautics has a better design, which is a carbon fiber truss, with two propellers in the center (electric in this case) and a weather balloon on each end. The propellers provide lateral propulsion, while the balloons provide lift. Of course, he's using this as a test body around 100,000 feet, but he didn't patent the design to my knowledge, so there's no reason not to (after checking) try building one.

Well, except that balloons are a tradeoff. Unless there's a propeller or something daft like the original aereon involved (see the 1638 discussions), they're basically static with respect to the body of air they're in, not to the ground. While balloonists get clever about rising and dropping to catch different bodies of air moving in different directions, they only hold station in still air.

If you want to use a balloon for photography, the old-school and still relevant solution is to use a tethered balloon, or a tethered kite-balloon to loft your camera platform.

466:

Read what I posted more carefully. The benefit for the poorer Londoners was the availability of cheap holidays, and it was and is the mass migration of emmets that overloaded the infrastructure (not just the sewage system, either). I don't know what the current distribution is but, back then, it was primarily from London.

I accept your point that it was done by and primarily for the well-off subset of the south-east, who also made the profit from the caravan parks etc., but the majority of London benefitted from the policy.

467:

I'm with you on this one. The Roberts Supreme Court has definitely been about preserving its power, credibility, and relevance, which means that it has to be seen as promoting the rule of law and some notion of justice, not being conservative patsies.

But the problem, again, is that if Trump gets away with a self-pardon, Biden or Harris also has that power, so they can abolish the Constitution and pardon themselves. Trump can't pardon his way back into office unless he stages a coup. And support for that coup seems to be pitiful. Worse, with Trump beating the drums about a rigged election and a bunch of republicans saying they believe him, if the court gives Biden the ability to self-pardon, they all look like secret democratic operatives and their credibility goes into the toilet. Which is something that Roberts does not want.

My hope is that Trump's actually angry at Pence, and this is not just more bullshit reality show playacting...If so, he won't resign to let Pence pardon him, but he may try to self-pardon. Unfortunately, his strategy if he doesn't self-pardon is to screw things up really badly in the hope that the Biden administration will have to spend all their time fixing it and not come after him, as happened with Obama and the Bush II administration. I suspect that's a vain hope, but there's certainly evidence that he's trying this gambit.

468:

Re. "self-pardoning": Seems unlikely to survive SCOTUS. I'm not a fan of most of their members, but they've already rejected Trump initiatives that they considered to be a threat to the rule of law or just ill-considered*. I won't claim that they'll always do the right thing, but preliminary evidence for their independence is better than I'd feared. (I've had much guilty pleasure suggesting to furious GOPpers that perhaps next time they should stack the court with Democrat judges.)

* re. Obamacare: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/10/politics/supreme-court-obamacare-oral-arguments/index.html
re. challenging the election: https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/11/politics/supreme-court-texas-trump-biden/index.html

A related issue is whether you can pardon yourself if you haven't actually been convicted of anything. My uneducated guess is "no", and that the Dems are waiting for Trump and Pence to leave office so that they can try him for federal crimes without interference from the GOP. But I'd be just as happy to see him spend the rest of his (un)natural life in court, trying to fend off state and municipal cases.

469:

A related issue is whether you can pardon yourself if you haven't actually been convicted of anything. My uneducated guess is "no", and that the Dems are waiting for Trump and Pence to leave office so that they can try him for federal crimes without interference from the GOP. But I'd be just as happy to see him spend the rest of his (un)natural life in court, trying to fend off state and municipal cases.

I'd change that slightly. My guess is that Biden and the dems want to rebuild the justice department as an independently functioning entity, then turn Trump over to their tender mercies. Ditto the IRS, which has been fighting Trump for years over stuff. Ditto the FBI, to investigate evidence for treason or foreign influence, to either bring charges or clear him.

The point for the dems is that justice, to be just, has to be about the rule of law, not about owning the reptards and MAGAts the way Trump owns the Libs.

Unfortunately, this is obvious enough that Trump's been working to trash all these departments for years.

That said, Trump's going to be ping-ponging through a rather large number of courts for the rest of his life, and his estate is going to be in litigation until it no longer exists, I suspect. And since I think he's burned his bridges with Deutsche Bank, he desperately needs to keep raising and misusing campaign funds to stay solvent. Which itself might lead to criminal prosecution....

470:

I don't think so. He was in jail for years and he had to sell nearly all his homes around the world in order to pay the courts and his lawyers.

He served 3 years, in minimum security in sunny Florida.

Despite no longer being a citizen (who renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a citizen of the UK for his peerage), he (a convicted fellon) was allowed to return to Canada after release.

While his fortune may have been dented, he was still by any means wealthy and promptly returned to his well paid job(s) writing opinion pieces.

None of that would apply to most people convicted, most of whom couldn't afford the lawyers to fight the legal battles who could, and thus reduced his 6.5 year sentence to effectively 3. And most people don't get to return to nice, well paying, jobs after being released from prison.

So yes, his punishments were minor.

471:

EC but the majority of London benefitted from the policy. No, not remotely. I was living here at the time & it wasn't funny.

Meanwhile, what's the betting on a skinny / minimum "deal" of some sort?
It depends on which news source you are looking at ....
But I actually think the complete fuck-up-by-the-numbers @ Dover & elsewhere has finally penetrated to BoZo, perhaps.

472:

Heteromeles @469: My guess is that Biden and the dems want to rebuild the justice department as an independently functioning entity, then turn Trump over to their tender mercies.

President-Elect Biden has made a very vocal point of restoring the independence of the Justice Department; whether or how they prosecute El Cheeto Grande will be left to the professionals.

Re: the Supreme Court and Trump appointees - once you've got that lifetime appointment, much of the influence of the person who appointed you goes away. SCOTUS has definitely been tilted conservative, but it's not always going to be obvious which way the justices are going to vote on a particular case. Chief Justice Roberts seems to be making quite an effort to maintain whatever reputation for fairness the court retains, with strategic opinions that don't toe the conservative line.

473:

The thing about Boris is that even if he somehow gets possessed on Christmas Eve by the ghosts of Charlemagne, Napoleon, and the Lord Woolton, the ghosts having received the Word to get Brexit fixed for the salvation of the English, there isn't time. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has been strapped to the sled and gravity has him now. It's got the whole island. It's quite possible he's only just now noticed that he doesn't know anything about the bottom of this hill.

The core political principle behind the UK's Brexit coalition is that the UK does not have to follow the rules. ("Britannia waives the rules", as though it were 1890.) That is not a position with any factual support, but adherence to it has increased as various deadlines approached, not diminished. There isn't time to do anything about that; the Brexit coalition has held. They're not giving up now.

The other point is that once things grind to a halt they don't restart readily. Order is important, and the order is unknown. It's not even especially discoverable, and from other examples it takes scale-of-years to create an equivalent set of logistics chains. There's going to be considerable upheaval before this could be politically recognised, and such political recognition is not guaranteed.

474:

And not a real surprise to anyone aware of how viruses work, but there is another new strain of Covid out of South Africa,

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/covid-variant-uk-south-africa-coronavirus-update-b1778225.html

475:

Not sure why I got linked to, but thanks. I'll in turn link to Derek Lowe's latest: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/12/22/the-new-mutations

Also, he mentioned nextstrain.org, which isn't limited to Covid19. However, if virology or phylogeny is your thing, you can follow the viral news with less intermediation by journalists here.

476:

On judges appointed by Trump:

Most, if not all the judges appointed by Trump were actually chosen by the Federalist Society, which is a club of lawyers and judges who are on the Right of US politics. From Wikipedia:

The organization, whose ideals include "checking federal power, protecting individual liberty and interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning", plays a central role in networking and mentoring young conservative lawyers.

These people may have taken advantage of Trump, but they are not his supporters. In fact they generally despise him. Trump may have assumed (like much of the rest of the world) that the judges he appointed would feel beholden to him, but that was a mistake.

477:

Graydon
We're going to find out - very soon, I think.
Trouble is ... even with "a deal" - it's still going to be a shit-sandwich & the ERG headbangers will be shouting on & ON & ON for the next 4 years, anyway ....

478:

Congrats, and good luck on the vaccine soon.

479:

Perhaps, but I'm wondering about his incitement to commit violence against the legally-elected government (i.e. Michigan) would qualify as "levying war".

480:

Steampunk dirigible! Battery-powered electic motor, all fitting brass....

481:

Well, of course. I understand what you're looking at (and I was absolutely serious about mailing you food if necessary).

I'll note that lettuce? I almost never buy fruits and vegetables out of season, or try not to.

482:

"Something about Russia"? You mean, besides a *lot* of kompromat and allllllll the money laundering evidence?

483:

Of course, Biden, who may not run for re-election, has little to lose... and if the GOP tries to block everything, he can use Trumpolini's playbook... and you want to see how fast the GOP goes bipartisan on House Democrats' laws and regulations clarifying what a President can and cannot do?

484:

And spending *all* of his remaining money on lawyers.

485:

The US tests for "true threat" are extremely narrow; it's very very difficult to make any kind of speech legally actionable.

If it's "did give orders..." rather than speech, it runs into Presidential immunity; you have to impeach for that, the courts won't touch it.

So there might be a "knowingly covered for a foreign actor who interfered with elections to the extent of changing the reported vote totals" case, somewhere, but in general I doubt it.

486:

Very thin electroplated brass, I hope!

The mass limits on those things are instructive; you need a lot of blimp to lift a kilo.

487:

"Brittania waives the rules" - great line.

488:

Heteromeles @ 434:

While I expect a self pardon to be challenged in the courts, I also expect it will rapidly make it to the Supreme Court of the U.S., and that they will sustain it (most likely in one of those Per curiam "shadow docket" decisions Roberts is so fond of).

Actually, per a talking-head law professor, this is dubious. His reasoning is that the right of pardon antedates American law by quite a ways. It's part of English common law, and is one of the basic rights of kings. That said, kings are never allowed to pardon themselves, because that would place them above the law.

This is probably the bigger argument. After all, if the Supreme Court rules that a President can pardon themselves for any action undertaken, even one that violates the Constitution, we'll be living in a monarchy, not a constitutional republic. That would be the end of their power as a court, and I don't think they're that stupid.

The bigger problem is that they'd hand this power to Biden, not to Trump, unless they nullify the election, which they won't.

Just because it's stupid and violates the Constitution doesn't mean they won't do it anyway.

The "hand this power to Biden" argument is a non-starter. Give me an example (even a hypothetical example) where Biden would abuse this "power".

Trump's best shot is to resign the day of Biden's inauguration, have Pence be President for an hour or three, and pardon Trump of everything. That would be legal, but then again, Pence would be on sacrificing his political career for Trump, and it's not clear he's that much of a Renfield. He could knife Trump's political career by simply failing to pardon him in time, let Trump take the falls, and campaign for president in 2024 as the hero who saved the Republic or some such.

I read a good article in The Atlantic with an interview of Michael Cohen, Trumpolini's former fixer personal lawyer.

Cohen contends that Trump's real goal is the subscription Cable TV network Trumpolini will likely launch after he is out of office ($4.99/month x 20 million die-hard Trumpanistas = ~$1.2 Trillion per year). If he resigns & lets Pence pardon him, that makes him a LOSER!

A loser ain't gonna get those 20 million subscribers @ $4.99/month. It really IS all about the money! And Trumpolini is going to need a lot of money after he's out of office.

Regardless, you're quite correct that Trump's going to be spending an inordinate amount of time in the state of New York after he leaves office. Conceivably, a bunch of states and municipalities could try him separately for criminal negligence, based on how many people died in their district due to his handling of the coronavirus.

Cohen had another interesting idea about Trumpolini's use of the pardon power

Basically, two thing drive him in this regard:
1. What's in it for Trumpolini? - Trump isn't going to pardon anyone unless he sees a way in which he will personally benefit from it.
2. When someone accepts a pardon, their 5th Amendment right against self incrimination becomes moot. - Trumpolini won't pardon anyone who could then be compelled to testify to acts which could in turn incriminate Trumpolini himself (i.e. the boys & "Javanka").

Cohen might be wrong, but I don't think he is. Take a look at who Trumpolini has already pardoned and who he has not pardoned; who he only commuted sentences for (i.e. they still retain their 5th Amendment right against self incrimination and by extension can't implicate Trumpolini).

PS: Evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania has finally turned up.


489:

They can do what I'm planning to do for my steam locos on my model train layout, when I get it running: I've been saving the cotton from pill bottles... so a smokestack with apparent smoke!

490:

Heh, heh. He's pardoned Flynn, Pappadopolis, and several others.

491:

For one, some of his tweets do go over the line.

For another... er, he *was* impeached.

492:

He could renounce his citizenship himself....

You cannot renounce US citizenship without the permission of the US government. Not having your taxes up to date is one of the reasons they refuse permission.

JBS