By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Barn Swallow (White-bellied), Mpala Ranch and Research Centre–Vanessa’s Glade, Rift Valley, Kenya. Short, but the insect tremolo is terrific!
September 1, 1939 (the date Germany invaded Poland, setting off World War II) isn’t one of Auden’s more cheerful poems. The opening lines always comes to my mind as representing the present day as well as Auden’s:
Not that I’ve ever seen the inside of a dive bar. But the ending is rarely quoted:
Shout-out to irony, yo.
“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles
“Full Transcript: Biden’s Speech on Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine Wars” [New York Times]. This is the nuts graf:
[BIDEN:] American leadership is what holds the world together.
I have no doubt The Blob deeply believes this. It’s still nuts. This is nuts too:
In moments like these, we have to remind — we have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. The United States of America. And there is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity, if we do it together.
Biden can’t be serious in his incantations, though I know he is. This from a country that can’t recruit an army, and can’t manufacture enough ammunition even for vassal states. At some point, submarines and SWIFT won’t be enough. What then? This thing is so shallow and delusional I’m not sure it’s worth pulling out my yellow waders.
Meanwhile, voters seem not entirely persuaded:
Holy shit pic.twitter.com/THcVzvTol0
— ettingermentum (@ettingermentum) October 20, 2023
“What Biden did and didn’t achieve during his trip to Israel” [CNN]. “President Joe Biden left for home after seven hours in the Israeli war zone with an increasingly tense Middle East in worse shape than when he arrived…. But however much White House officials tried to downplay expectations, there was a clear imperative for Biden’s mission to tamp down tensions – a goal that was not achieved…. [B]y failing to make any immediate breakthroughs, Biden’s trip also showed the limits of US leverage in a grave geopolitical situation and therefore suggested, worryingly, that it may not be possible to stop events spinning out of control.” • Hmm.
Time for the Countdown Clock!
* * *
“Trump leads Biden, builds support among young voters: poll” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump leads President Biden by 2 points in a hypothetical 2024 general election match-up and is improving his standing among young voters, according to a poll released Friday. The Emerson College poll showed Trump ahead with 47 percent support to Biden’s 45 percent, with 8 percent undecided. That’s up 2 points for Trump compared to Emerson’s poll from last month, while Biden’s support remained the same. The results are the latest in a series of polls that have shown a close race in a hypothetical contest between Biden and Trump, each of their party’s most likely nominees, or have shown Trump ahead of Biden by some amount. Trump led Biden by 4 points nationwide in a CNBC All-America Economic Survey poll from Wednesday, and he led by 4 points in a Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll of seven key swing states from Thursday. Pollsters found Trump performing better than Biden among the youngest voters, leading the incumbent among 18-to-29-year-olds by about 2 points, 45.2 percent to 42.9 percent. The former president also leads among 30-to-39-year-olds by about 11 points, 49.6 percent to 38.5 percent.” • Naturally so. When you take six hundred bucks away from an 18-year-old, they really feel it.
* * *
“Biden’s Allies Say the Quiet Part Out Loud: This War Could Be His 2024 Reset” [Politico]. “In an interview with POLITICO Magazine, [Sen. Chris Coons] was emphatic that Biden’s lightning-fast trip to Israel was not about the 2024 election. But in the same breath, Coons laid out in lavish detail just how telling it was that while Biden was in Tel Aviv assuring the Israelis that America had their backs, the GOP was literally falling apart on Capitol Hill…. In some ways Wednesday’s historic visit and Thursday’s Oval Office address could be viewed as a kind of reopening of Biden’s already troubled re-election campaign. Above all, the 80-year-old Biden is trying to change the narrative on what has become his biggest liability, his age, which polls have shown may be the top concern of both Democratic and Republican voters. The internet is rife with memes and clips of Biden shuffling, falling and misspeaking. His campaign wants to turn that vulnerability into a strength by arguing that only Biden has the experience and wisdom to handle what is becoming one of the most perilous international landscapes since World War II, campaign aides say. The president himself seemed to sound that note repeatedly this week. On Air Force One heading home from the Israel visit, Biden made a rare appearance in the press section, admitting to reporters that the trip was a gamble and he and his team had argued over whether to go for “an hour or more” because “had we gone and this failed then, you know the United States failed, Biden’s presidency failed … which would be legitimate criticism.”• Again quoting Mearsheimer: “[T]he overall thrust of U.S. policy in the region is due almost entirely to U.S. domestic politics, and especially to the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby.” • The final quotes from the article are from “Elaine Kamarck, expert on American electoral politics at Brookings and a former senior aide to former Vice President Al Gore.” That being the same Elaine Kamarck who’s married to Steny Hoyer, often “allied with American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).” It’s a small, small world.
“Jim Jordan fails to win House speakership in third vote” [CNN]. ” There were 25 House Republicans who voted for someone other than Jordan, who could only lose 5 votes today due to the roll call vote absences. He lost 22 votes on the second round of voting and 20 on the first.” • The count was 210 for Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, 194 for Jordan, R-Wrestling; no majority. Amazingly, McCarthy nominated him. I happened across a live feed from Reuters on the Twitter, starting with the roll call. It’s a quite a ritual:
1) I’m sure the Senate chambers in the late Roman Republic were equally impressive and commodious.
2) Represenatives stand to affim their vote when their name is called by the Clerk from the roll. This is slow, but more things should be slow.
3) The Clerk counts the votes on paper (be still my beating heart).
4) Temporary Speaker McHenry announces the result, way up at the tippy top, where all view lines converge, in front of the flag. And speaking of Patrick McHenry — c’mon, “Patrick Henry.” Really? —
“‘No. 1 draft pick for Wall Street’: McHenry’s rise thrills Washington-wary executives” [Politico]. “Rep. Patrick McHenry — the temporary speaker who may be tapped to be more than just a caretaker — is one of the House GOP’s top liaisons with the business community, thanks to his long-time leadership role at the Financial Services Committee. While McHenry began his career by throwing bombs and torpedoing bank bailouts, he’s emerged in recent years as a pragmatic, bipartisan dealmaker. He has served as a counterweight to his party’s predilection for economy-rattling brinksmanship over things such as the federal debt limit. The hope in the business world is that having McHenry at the helm of the House might add some stability as a government shutdown looms next month. ‘Patrick McHenry is the best,’ said Anthony Scaramucci, a financier and former Trump communications director. ‘He would be the No. 1 draft pick for Wall Street.’ McHenry’s rise comes as the finance industry has become increasingly accustomed to Washington dysfunction.” • Lovely to see Scaramucci in Politico’s Rolodex. So excellent.
“Republicans plot holdup of Biden’s anticipated $100 BILLION funding ask bundling Israel, Ukraine and sanctuary city ‘bailout’ funds, saying they must be separate” [Daily Mail]. • But since the House — where revenue bills originate — doesn’t have a speaker, there’s nothing much to do, is there?
“5 ways the House speaker drama could end” [Vox]. “5) It doesn’t end: Finally, for the sake of completion, one more possibility (albeit right now an extremely remote one) is that the House simply remains speaker-less until 2025. This would mean an unprecedented, devastating 13-month government shutdown with unforeseen consequences — something enough Republicans would likely want to cut short so they won’t be blamed for it. It would also mean an end to legislation for the next year, including perceived “must-pass” measures like aid to Israel. So it seems unlikely things would go this far. But there’s a first time for everything.” • But it looks like this meeting really did take place:
A source describes the Jordan meeting with the holdouts like this: A direct, precise meeting in which JORDAN was told he will never be speaker. This group doesn’t want anything. They want Jordan to understand he will not be speaker.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 20, 2023
Democrats en Déshabillé
Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert
I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.
Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.
* * *
“Time to Throw the Intersectional Left Under the Bus!” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “Over the last number of years, huge swathes of the American left have become infected with an ideology that judges actions or arguments not by their content but rather by the identity of those involved in said actions or arguments. Those identities in turn are defined by an intersectional web of oppressed and oppressors, of the powerful and powerless, of the dominant and marginalized. With this approach, one judges an action not by whether it’s effective or an argument by whether it’s true but rather by whether the people involved in the action or argument are in the oppressed/powerless/marginalized bucket or not. If they are, the actions or arguments should be supported; if not, they should be opposed. This approach was always a terrible idea, in obvious contradiction to logic and common sense. But it has led much of the left and large sectors of the Democratic Party to take positions [like “Listen to Black women”?]hat have little purchase in social or political reality and are offensive to the basic values most people hold. The failure to unequivocally condemn the Hamas massacre as a crime against humanity is just the latest example of this intellectual and moral malignancy.” • The guy who sold the Democrat Party the identity politics bill of goods now has second thoughts on intersectionality? And seizes the opportunity provided by the Israel-Hamas war to indulge them? Hilarity ensues!
Realignment and Legitimacy
The account is from a former editor of The Atlantic, so he’s not dumb, exactly; perhaps just over-optimized for his current position:
Attract followers not with logic, but with raw feelings.
Sentimentalism—playing upon soft-heartedness—disarms people’s rational defenses.
You must persuade purely through emotion. Amplify feelings of resentment and injustice. pic.twitter.com/szunO7IgPA
— Benjamin Carlson (@bfcarlson) October 19, 2023
Thing is, though, if you go down the list, you’ll see that they all apply to liberal Democrats (surely not a “radical movement”). For example: “Create a culture of snooping and denunciation.” Idpol and the censorship industrial complex to a T. And I’m sure the same could be done for Republicans; it’s just that I’m not familiar enough with them to say.
I was poking around search — I think I had the idea that symbols are like diamonds, formed by pressure, i.e. have history (along with cut, color, clarity, and carat, or the equivalent) — and ran across “Symbolic interactionism,” apparently invented by one George Herbert Mead:
Symbolic interactionism is a sociological theory that develops from practical considerations and alludes to humans’ particular use of shared language to create common symbols and meanings, for use in both intra- and interpersonal communication.
As for example, blogging! More:
Mind, Self and Society is the book published by Mead’s students based on his lectures and teaching, and the title of the book highlights the core concept of social interactionism. Mind refers to an individual’s ability to use symbols to create meanings for the world around the individual – individuals use language and thought to accomplish this goal. Self refers to an individual’s ability to reflect on the way that the individual is perceived by others. Finally, society, according to Mead, is where all of these interactions are taking place.
It occurred to me that all three elements of Mead’s triad are seriously deranged in our society, top to bottom, but few to none more than “Self” in our governing class, if that be defined as the ability to self-reflect. Biden’s ridiculous speech yesterday is a fine example of this, but examples could be multiplied.
Erving Goffman, who I read a ton of when I was a mere sprat (I think by way of Eric Berne), was a symbolic interactionist. Bourdieu is on that family tree as well. So I feel I’ve been speaking this prose all my life.
“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison
Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).
Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!
Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard);
MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV ( wastewater); WY ( wastewater).
Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).
Hat tips to helpful readers: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).
Stay safe out there!
“By some happy coincidence, you’re not sick, so take one for the team, wouldya?”
We need to acknowledge the amount of extra labour being done by folks who mask and don’t get sick as often to cover for the constantly sick while getting ridiculed and othered for wearing a mask. https://t.co/GRMYQRzBG8
— Amanda Hu (@amandalhu) October 19, 2023
Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.
* * *
Some pre-HICPAC listening:
In our latest, @jane_nnu of @NationalNurses returns to discuss the latest in an ongoing campaign to stop CDC from further weakening infection controls, new information that’s come out since our last discussion, and what you can do to helphttps://t.co/x8IRB8UgO1
— Death Panel (@DeathPanel_) October 19, 2023
Imagine! A “Covid Inquiry”:
“What would the absence of public messaging on #LongCovid have on protective behaviour?” asks our KC Anthony Metzer
— Long Covid SOS (@LongCovidSOS) October 18, 2023
Of course, as with Grenfell Tower, just because the Brits have an inquiry doesn’t mean they’ll do anything. But at least they have the inquiry!
Lambert: At some point, I’ll put the Verily dashboard here. In the meantime, here is CDC’s chart, which as you can see, is designed to obfuscate national and regional totals. From October 16:
Note the material inside the red box, which essentially explains why this is an untrustworthy chart. Particularly hilarious is the material highlighted in yellow: “Wastewater data showing the percent change in virus levels should be used along with …. clinical cases.” We don’t test, so clinical data is useless. In fact, CDC doesn’t even track it.
NEVER TO BE UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, October 2:
Lambert here: Leveling out to a high plateau wasn’t on my Bingo card! Perhaps FL.1.5.1, high in the Northeast, has something going for it that other variants don’t have?
Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, October 14:
Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“), with HV.1 a strong second, and XBB.220.127.116.11 and FL.1.15.1 trailing. No BA.2.86. Still a Bouillabaisse…
From CDC, September 16:
Lambert here: I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).
CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.
Covid Emergency Room Visits
NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, October 14:
Lambert here: Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator until Verily gets its house in order (and working class-centric, since I would doubt the upper crust goes to the ER).
NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.
Bellwether New York City, data as of October 20:
Still decreasing. (New York State is now falling, too.) I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive (although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter).
NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. October 7:
Lambert here: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?
NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, October 16:
-0.3%. Still dropping, though less than before. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)
NOT UPDATED From Cleveland Clinic, October 14:
Lambert here: I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.
NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, September 25:
Back up again, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers:
BA.2.86 shrinks. Flash in the pan?
NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 27:
Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?
Total: 1,179,671 –
1,179,587 = 84 (84 * 365 = 30,660 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).
The Economist, October 20:
Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.
The Fed: “United States Fed Funds Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The Fed is proceeding carefully and policymakers will make decisions about the extent of additional policy firming and how long policy will remain restrictive based on the totality of the incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks, Fed Chair Powell said at the Economic Club of New York. Fed Chair added that tight policy is putting downward pressure on economic activity and inflation. However, additional evidence of persistently above-trend growth, or that tightness in the labor market is no longer easing, could put further progress on inflation at risk and could warrant further tightening of monetary policy. Powell also noted that inflation is still too high and that a sustainable return to the 2% inflation goal is likely to require a period of below-trend growth and some further softening in labor market conditions.” • “Softening,” because he’s beating on it with his rubber hammer?
Mr. Market: “BofA Sees Near-Term Stock Rally as Signal Flashes Contrarian Buy” [Bloomberg]. “Investor positioning in stocks has become so bearish that it’s triggered a “contrarian buy signal” in a custom Bank of America Corp. indicator, setting up the asset class for a short-term rally, according to strategist Michael Hartnett. The BofA bull-and-bear reading dropped to 1.9 from 2.2 in the week through Oct. 18, driven by outflows from emerging market debt funds, high-yield bonds and global equities, as well as a jump in allocation to cash, Hartnett said. A drop below 2 is seen as a contrarian signal of a near-term rally.” • I don’t play the ponies, so make of this what you will!
Mr. Market: Again, I don’t play the ponies:
The rush to shed duration is global. UK 30s at highest since 1998. Our own long bond is back under pressure after a failed rally overnight. Fron-end bid
— Ed Bradford (@Fullcarry) October 20, 2023
“Shedding duration” sounds intriguing. I wonder what it means?
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 30 Fear (previous close: 28 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 33 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 20 at 1:52:32 PM ET. Updated. They broke in the new intern!
As photographic as Monet in the cropping (not something all painters evoke):
— Edward Hopper (@artisthopper) October 20, 2023
Reminds me of the Hill in Providence, RI.
Readers, can this be true?
— internet hall of fame (@InternetH0F) October 20, 2023
Our Famously Free Press
“With new declaration, luminaries warn that online censorship is destroying freedom” [New York Post]. “To that end, a group of 136 academics, historians and journalists from the left, right and center of the political spectrum have come together to warn President Biden that this rapidly growing censorship regime ‘undermines the foundational principles of representative democracy.’ In their ‘Westminster Declaration,’ released Wednesday, the international group points out that the best way to combat actual disinformation is with free speech. ‘Open discourse is the central pillar of a free society, and is essential for holding governments accountable, empowering vulnerable groups, and reducing the risk of tyranny … We do not want our children to grow up in a world where they live in fear of speaking their minds.’” • Oddly, a quick search on “Westminster Declaration” brings up nothing from the New York Times or the Washington Post (or the Associated Press, or any other American mainstream media outlet). I wonder why?
“They can and will ruin everything you love” [Welcome to Hell World]. “In March of 2022, Bandcamp was acquired by Epic Games, the folks behind Fortnite and Unreal Engine. While the change in ownership raised eyebrows and triggered endless jokes, the site seemed to stay running much the same at first. Just over a year later in May of 2023 it was announced that Bandcamp’s employees voted 31-7 to unionize as Bandcamp United and were to be recognized by Epic. All the while Bandcamp Daily’s distinctive editorial coverage continued. Their popular Bandcamp Fridays – an initiative started in 2020 in which the site forgoes their 15% fee of sales on the first Friday of each month – also continued. So far so good. Then at the end of September 2023 it was announced that Epic would be selling Bandcamp to content licensing and service company Songtradr. As of their initial statement regarding the acquisition, Songtradr is planning to continue Bandcamp Friday, keep Bandcamp Daily, and maintain all current features, but they were clear that not all employees would be retained. As with all layoffs, this decision was presented as a necessary evil – there’s simply no way they could run this company with all those employees! – but they swore to you, their darling consumer, that you would feel no effects. Needless to say, having observed one single corporate acquisition before, Songtradr didn’t recognize Bandcamp’s union, and employees remained in limbo for weeks before it was finally announced who would be let go – 60 of the 118 employees, slashing 50% or more across all departments, including half of the Bandcamp Daily editorial staff and 70% of the vinyl team. SFGate reports that the layoffs disproportionately impact those eligible for union membership, including every member of their 8 person bargaining team. But don’t worry about that! Songtradr loves your community! Their CEO is a “passionate musician” himself. You can trust him.” • “Passionate” is another one of those words….
News of the Wired
“Mathematicians Found 12,000 Solutions to the Notoriously Hard Three-Body Problem” [Popular Mechanics]. “In 2017, for example, researchers from China discovered 1,223 solutions to the three-body problem by testing 16 million orbits using a supercomputer. Now, researchers from Sofia University in Bulgaria have further expanded upon that 2017 algorithm and discovered more than 12,000 additional solutions. The lead researcher Ivan Hristov told New Scientist that access to even more powerful supercomputers could discover five times as many solutions to the infamously tricky three-body problem…. Understanding the extremely subtle movements among three orbital bodies is important for space travel—when space agencies need to send satellites, landers, or spacecraft to a distant planet, they need to know how all the pieces of a system will play together. Hristov’s three-body solutions start with three bodies at rest before entering free fall and being pulled by one another’s gravity. The ‘solutions’ were instances when these three bodies found a way to maintain an orbit around one another. Many of these solutions look like a jumbled mess of lines. In fact, other than a few known solutions (including one that introduced the concept of Lagrange points), . That’s because, in most cases, three-body problems quickly become two-body ones as the object with the smallest mass is ejected from the system.” • So, ok….
“Why You Don’t Need to Rake Leaves” [New York Times]. “But that pile of leaves is home to an entire ecosystem filled with critical organic matter. In fact, those leaves probably shouldn’t be piled at all. In recent years, some naturalists have called for an approach known as ‘leaving leaves’ when they fall to the ground, which would return organic materials back to the soil. ‘A forest has the richest soil there is, and that happens because leaves are falling off the trees and decomposing right there and organic materials are going back into the soil,’ said Susan Barton, a professor and extension specialist in landscape horticulture at the University of Delaware. ‘We should be doing that in all of our landscapes, but we’re not.’ However, because of local ordinances, homeowners’ associations and personal preferences, that option is not always realistic. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, naturalists say.” • The ordinances, and the HOA agreements should at the very least read: “Let no organic matter leave the property.”
Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From KM:
KM writes: “It’s pawpaw season in Virginia and I went hunting for some along the James River last weekend. It was rather hot for the occasion, but I came home with some of the tasty, if slightly odd fruits.
Thought you might enjoy this image I took looking up at my quarry from below.”
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