January 2021

Sunday, 31 January 2021

There’s no substitute for a substitute

Steve Randy Waldman: “Outside of the 47 square miles of San Francisco proper are almost 3200 square miles in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties.”


Saturday, 30 January 2021

The Redditors Have Revealed A Myth About The Stock Market

Zachary D. Carter: “Financial markets cannot tell us what is good and what is bad. They can only tell us what a lot of people thought they could make money on at a certain point in time. The real work of determining what kind of world we want to live in is the proper subject of democracy, not high finance.”


Thursday, 28 January 2021

The New Virus Strains Make the Next 6 Weeks Crucial

Ezra Klein: “‘What we need to do right now is to plan for the worst case scenario,’ Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told me. ‘And when I say ‘worst case,’ I’m potentially talking about the most likely case. Let’s not wait until we wrap the car around the tree to start pumping the brakes.’”


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

No one knows how much the government can borrow

Noah Smith: “And as you know if you’ve ever read any macro theory, it tends to have no real predictive power. For example, a 2020 paper by Obstfeld and Rogoff constructs a model where hyperinflation might happen, or might not. Furthermore, macro models are rarely tested against data, so this paper might reach a totally inconclusive conclusion for totally wrong reasons.”


Monday, 25 January 2021

After Alarmism

David Wallace-Wells: “In their retrospective analysis, they found that, despite much consternation about designing climate policy to prevent countries from ‘cheating,’ there was basically no evidence of any country ever pulling back from mitigation efforts to take a free ride on the good-faith efforts of others. There was, in other words, no collective-action problem on climate after all. For a generation, the argument for climate action was made on a moral basis. That case has only grown stronger. And now there are other powerful, more mercenary arguments to offer.”


Wednesday, 20 January 2021

The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman:


Monday, 18 January 2021

Another new coronavirus variant found across California

L.A. Times: “So many people have died in Los Angeles County that officials have temporarily suspended air-quality regulations that limit the number of cremations.”


Sunday, 17 January 2021

QAnon Is Destroying the GOP From Within

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE): “Until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon. They can’t.”


Saturday, 16 January 2021

Europe’s Schools Are Closing Again on Concerns They Spread Covid-19

WSJ: “‘The problem is not that schools are unsafe for children,’ Mr. Johnson said last week. ‘The problem is schools may nonetheless act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.’”


Friday, 15 January 2021

The Vaccine War

Noah Smith: “We must do this. We have no other choice.”


The Bitcoin Dream Is Dead

Money Talks: “On top of this, the extraordinary volatility of Bitcoin’s price — which, as we’ve seen in the past week, can fall 10% to 20% overnight — discourages businesses and individuals from accepting Bitcoin in exchange for real goods and services, since few people want to get paid today with something that might be 10% less valuable tomorrow.”


Saturday, 9 January 2021

All Dark Matter in the Universe Could Be Primordial Black Holes – Formed From the Collapse of Baby Universes Soon After the Big Bang

SciTechDaily: “The early universe was so dense that any positive density fluctuation of more than 50 percent would create a black hole.”


Friday, 8 January 2021

Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition

Transition Integrity Project: “More broadly, there needs to be a robust, intentional, and specific strategy to challenge the white supremacist and extremist networks that enabled Trump’s rise to power and were in turn enabled by Trump’s administration. This base will not automatically demobilize if and when Trump leaves office, and it is inimical to the kind of pluralist democracy the founders intended.”


I Lived Through A Stupid Coup. America Is Having One Now

Indi Samarajiva: “Americans are so caught up with the idea that this can’t be happening to them that they’re missing the very obvious fact that it is.”


‘This Must Be Your First’

Zeynep Tufekci: “Part of the problem is that we haven’t developed linguistic precision to put a name to it all—not just to what’s been happening since November, but to the processes within which it’s embedded. That’s dangerous, because language is a tool of survival.”


Thursday, 7 January 2021

People without symptoms spread virus in more than half of cases, CDC model finds

Washington Post: “Fifty-nine percent of all transmission came from people without symptoms […]”


The Disgrace on Capitol Hill

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “The 74 million Trump voters have genuine concerns about the country, and they deserve better than to be misled.”


Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Remove Trump From Office

The American Conservative: “There has been a debate for the last two months over whether Trump’s inept efforts to steal the election and remain in power amounted to a coup, but today’s events have settled the question.”


Monday, 4 January 2021

The Mutated Virus Is a Ticking Time Bomb

Zeynep Tufecki: “Early on, there was a lot of hand-wringing about why some European cities were very badly hit while others were spared—spared only until later, it often turned out—despite similar policies. The answer could be just a bit of bad luck and a few weeks of delay: For exponential processes, small initial differences can mean gargantuan differences in the long run, and we are not helpless.”


Friday, 1 January 2021

Chinese officials investigate cause of pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan

Reuters: “DECEMBER 30, 2019 / 11:55 PM […] BEIJING (Reuters): Chinese health authorities said they are investigating 27 cases of viral pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan, after rumors on social media suggested the outbreak could be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).”