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GOP Power Lawyer: Congress Said Insurrection is Cool in 1872

I confess I’m as much entertained as surprised that Madison Cawthorn’s lawyer is taking this tack to defend his standing to serve in the House of Representatives. James Bopp Jr., a storied right wing power lawyer, argues that Congress already issued a blanket amnesty to all insurrectionists back in 1872. So Madison is good to go in terms of serving in Congress. Bopp is granting – at least for the sake of argument – that Cawthorn did commit insurrection. It amounts to saying: ‘Congress already absolved young Mr. Cawthorn back during the Grant administration for any insurrections he might do. So whether he committed a rebellion against the United States last January is moot’.

I haven’t been holding my breath to see Cawthorn barred from serving in Congress. But I did not anticipate this line of defense – to put it mildly. If nothing else it seems distinctly off message for Bopp, if not for Cawthorn. Again, big time right wing power lawyer! Not some Trumper freakshow bumped off the turnip truck.

I went back and looked at the law. The background is this. The 14th amendment barred everyone who participated in the rebellion from holding office if they’d held any elective or appointed office before the Civil War. It also allowed Congress by a two-thirds vote to waive or pardon these penalties. So in 1872 Congress did just that as part of the general process of allowing former insurrectionists to reenter the political life.

Congress made it a blanket amnesty with the exception of members of Congress elected to serve from 1859 to 1863 and holders of positions of high trust in the US government. Many of the people who were excepted from this general pardon later received individual ones.

It’s true that the congressional act does not explicitly refer to the rebellion we call the US Civil War. It might thus be a legitimate interpretation that if there was someone else who had participated in a rebellion against the United States in say 1850 and we hadn’t heard about it that that guy would be in luck. Maybe the same for 1870. But for 2021. There’s no way this amnesty was intended to let yahoos who wouldn’t be born for another century off the hook and give them a kind of insurrection mulligan on the house.

But we don’t have to rely on logic and intent. Bopp’s argument is that Congress just got rid of those penalties entirely. But that’s clearly not the case. The amendment made specific provision for a future Congress to pardon these penalties by a two-thirds vote. Congress used that two-thirds threshold. So Congress wasn’t getting rid of that whole provision. It was operating within the powers the provision granted it. No one at the time thought that Congress was overriding that part of the 14th Amendment. And it wouldn’t matter if they did. Because Congress can’t amend the constitution with a statute. Any lawyer knows this. Anyone with a grade school level civics education knows this. That’s not how it works.

Whether Cawthorn’s actions amounted to engaging “in insurrection or rebellion against the [constitution of the United States], or giv[ing] aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” is a legitimate question. There’s no credible argument that Congress okayed insurrections for the rest of time with a act in 1872.

Where Things Stand: Trolls Flood Youngkin’s Teacher-Reporting Tip Line, As They Should

He should’ve known.

As we know, Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is working furiously to make good on his campaign promise to essentially make combatting Republican grievances, real and imagined, the top priority of the Virginia state government. We wrote recently about his reversal of the state’s universal masking policy for schools. He also moved to ban the teaching of “inherently divisive concepts” (read: “Critical Race Theory”) in public schools on Day One.

During an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks earlier this week, Youngkin announced a new tip line his administration had set up, asking parents to notify the state government with reports of public teachers “behaving objectionably,” aka talking about race and systemic racism in the classroom, concepts that the GOP continues to squeeze beneath the ill-suited label “Critical Race Theory” — an academic framework that’s ruffled the right into hysterics in recent months.

“We’re asking for folks to send us reports and observations that they have that will help us be aware of things like privilege bingo, be aware of their child being denied their rights that parents have in Virginia. And we’re going to make sure we catalog it all,” he said Monday. “This gives us a great insight into what’s happening at a school level, and that gives us further ability to make sure we’re rooting it out.”

A bunch of red states have passed similar laws in the last year, seizing on baseless beliefs that teaching about racism in America is somehow harmful to (white) students. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is taking the whole charade several steps further by backing legislation that would outlaw workplace trainings or conversations that could make (white) employees feel “discomfort.”

Anyways, Youngkin’s tip line move was predictable. But so has been the backlash.

After Youngkin’s announcement, a Virginia lawyer and former Democratic congressional candidate Qasim Rashid tweeted out the email address for the state’s teacher snitching hotline, suggestively asking Twitter users to not “make a mockery of this.”

Twitter delivered. Rashid tweeted out a handful of some of the best fake “tips,” which included things like reporting that Albus Dumbledore (of Harry Potter) was caught “teaching that full blooded wizards discriminated against mudbloods!” The famous musician John Legend got in on the action, too, encouraging Black parents in Virginia to “flood these tip lines with complaints about our history being silenced. We are parents too.”

Why conservatives continue to think that these types of snitching tools will be taken seriously is beyond me. Especially after a conservative pro-life group in Texas created its own hotline to help the state enforce its new Wild West-style abortion ban. Shortly after the Supreme Court decided to let the Texas law stay in place last year, the Texas Right To Life group made a hotline for people to report people getting abortions in the state and ultimately sue anyone involved in the effort.

Tik-Tok users and others flooded the hotline with “tips.” The pro-life group retaliated by saying they’d “involved the FBI and local police departments” to counter the fake attacks, issuing a cryptically Biblical statement shaming the trollsters to match.

“Because Texas Right to Life served a key role in shepherding the heartbeat bill to passage, the unscrupulous abortion mob is reeling, launching cyber attacks, casting hexes and threatening our team and the organization,” Right To Life director Elizabeth Graham said. “While we recognize these broken souls as intolerant keyboard warriors who operate in darkness, we also share a healthy respect for our ruthless spiritual enemy.”

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

Catch up on our live coverage of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement here: Senators React To Breyer’s Retirement

And our piece from this morning, here: Justice Breyer To Retire | Talking Points Memo

Sen. Kelly Opposes AZ Dems’ Censure Of Sinema, Spox Says

Madison Cawthorn Lawyer Cites Confederate Amnesty Act To Defend Rep’s Job | Talking Points Memo

MyPillow Guy Just Decides To Stop Complying With Dominion Suit Discovery Process

Gaetz-Gate: Indicted Shock Jock In Gaetz’s Circle Is Cooperating In Trafficking Probe, Lawyer Says

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Court Tosses Alabama GOP’s New District Map Because It Crammed Black Voting Power Into Just One District — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

Congress Can Trade Stocks or Keep the Public Trust. Not Both. — Michelle Cottle

The return to scarcity — Brian Morrissey

The Cult of Casey’s: How Gas Stations Became Essential to American Culture — Lyz Lenz

Europe ready to unveil sovereign broadband constellation plan

The European Commission will unveil the architecture for its proposed satellite broadband constellation “in a few weeks,” the European Union commissioner in charge of space policy said Jan. 25.

The post Europe ready to unveil sovereign broadband constellation plan appeared first on SpaceNews.

Sic Transit

“I know we all have fatigue, but we have to get through this and right now in Butler County, it’s off the hook. My attitude has changed immensely. I’ve had three employees in the sheriff’s office in the last few months die of COVID.” – Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff Richard Jones.

Two Quick Links for Wednesday Afternoon

A photo of Olympic skateboarder Lizzie Armanto was chosen for the cover of Macmillan's Preparation for Calculus textbook. [instagram.com]

Wow, Jad Abumrad is stepping away from hosting Radiolab after almost 20 years. One of the absolute best of the OG podcasters. [wnycstudios.org]

---

Note: Quick Links are pushed to this RSS feed twice a day. For more immediate service, check out the front page of kottke.org, the Quick Links archive, or the @kottke Twitter feed.

A Potential East Coast Winter Storm Beginning On Friday

AFDLOX January 26, 2:25pm

FXUS66 KLOX 262225 AFDLOX Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Los Angeles/Oxnard CA 225 PM PST Wed Jan 26 2022 .SYNOPSIS...26/224 PM. Offshore flow will keep warm temperatures in place through late week. Gusty Santa Ana winds are expected Thursday night through Friday. A cooling trend is expected next week but conditions will remain dry.

Astroscale pauses debris-removal demo following anomaly

ELSA-d

Astroscale said Jan. 26 it has paused an attempt to autonomously capture an in-orbit satellite for the first time after detecting “anomalous spacecraft conditions.”

The post Astroscale pauses debris-removal demo following anomaly appeared first on SpaceNews.

Soviet vs Western approaches to laundry, 100 years ago

Art in Revolution: Soviet Art and Design after 1917. This was an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London in 1971. Here’s a slideshow (Google Arts & Culture). I’ve been leafing through the catalogue.

From the intro, the exhibition was an attempt to define one of the most important of modern art movements – Constructivism.

…which was (I’m getting the impression) not just an art movement (as I previously thought) but almost like history put forward the question: what if the artists won?

So the Revolution of 1917 has artists doing their best work in the forum of everyday life: Let us make the streets our brushes, the squares our palette.

And the propaganda posters are glorious.

And the architecture too, more artists: for in architecture one can most successfully create a way of life, a new order, touching every aspect of man’s activity.

So I hadn’t quite got that connection between the Soviet philosophy and Constructivism.

It’s enticing as a prospect, I have to admit.


Architecture.

Architects tasked themselves with the double problem of improving conditions and easing congestion and of destroying the class distinctions which had shaped towns before.

Imagine class being part of the discourse today!

This caught my eye:

Lenin, at the 1919 Congress of the Communist Party, demanded the formulation of a policy of rebuilding suited to the democratic society. This included better living conditions and also educational facilities, including easy access to artistic treasures. It stressed the need to liberate women from domestic routine by offering co-operative services.

I want to zoom in on that.

Because it implies a form of town planning, or maybe housing estate design. Shared laundry; shared childcare; shared kitchens. By hand, I’m guessing – it’s 1917, early in electrification.


AS AN ASIDE, I want to say something about Britain in 1971.

Which is before I was born.

The impression I get is that there was a certain type of person who was, at best, on the fence about Soviet culture. Pro, possibly.

It was the middle of the Cold War, the USSR was clearly the enemy. But the propaganda and control of information was immense.

Soviet culture looked like a genuine alternative to Western culture? I think that was the perspective then. It genuinely looked like a different way of running society, and it genuinely looked powerful and like it had a chance of winning.

And from a British point of view, the Soviets aren’t Soviets… they’re one of the four Great Powers! The Brits and the Russians have been tussling at that point for centuries, there’s always someone in the ascendant and somebody scrabbling, and it turns over periodically. So I think there’s a kind of respect given to Russia and Constructivism that wouldn’t have been there if this exhibition had been in the US.

Now Communism ain’t great. I’m a generation and a thousand miles removed, and I’ve spoken recently with people much closer to it than me – really not great at all.

But reading this exhibition catalogue, I come away with the view that the authors don’t know who will come out on top: the Soviets or the West; Communism or Capitalism. Nothing for them - not the west, not capitalism - is inevitable, so it’s a very different read than we’d get nowadays, now we know how the story progresses.


Let’s go back to the town planning thing.

Because the Western alternative to co-operative services, in terms of “liberation” from the domestic routine, is consumerism.

The first couple of decades of the 1900s was the story of electrification and the fractional-horsepower motor (Wikipedia). The technology of the factory came into the home, and: By 1920, over 500,000 fractional-horsepower motors were powering washers and other appliances in America.

Here’s French sociology Henri Lefebvre on the topic, as told by Rob Shields:

In France after the First World War, factory work was reorganised by rationalising production and streamlining workplace activities. Everyday life was affected by a similar impetus towards rationalisation and efficiency. One example that Lefebvre noted was the scientific redesign of the kitchen and the large-scale intervention in housework by corporations. Advertising discourses of rationality appealed to ‘science’, to time management and to efficiency understood as the reduction of effort. Ironically, at the same time, new tasks became expected parts of household labour, thus consuming all the time that was freed by, for example, self-stoking coal furnaces or gas cooking stoves, which replaced wood-fired appliances, which has to be tended. The everyday life of the nuclear family became the norm as mothers were portrayed single-handedly managing the household to high standards of care, nutrition and hygiene while husbands worked for wages elsewhere. This new form of the household was marked by its isolation and non-cooperation with other kin or nearby families.

So this is a very different lived experience from the Soviet aspiration of co-operative facilities for domestic life.

It’s a kind of town planning by stealth, an intervention by technology and corporations (i.e. consumerism) that promotes atomisation rather than community.


I’m not making a statement about which is better or worse – who knows what confounding effects there are, or how things play out in the long term, or the difference between what we’re told and what was really happening. I wouldn’t have wanted to live under Communism (though I would love to give artists another shot at sorting us out).

HOWEVER – it strikes me:

Looking from the perspective of 1971 at how these two cultures approached, say, what it’s like to do your laundry, you would identify a real separation in outcomes. One from the perspective of the other is science-fictional, alien!

I find this juxtaposition simultaneously

ONE: reassuring that whenever I talk about abstract things like politics or technology, it’s valid to have as a starting point a focus on the human, like: do we want people to spending more time with their communities or not so much; and that real difference is in fact possible;

AND TWO: mentally destabilising that such fiercely different cultures existed as valid alternatives within living memory, and as such the concrete inevitability of our current culture may not be as eternal as it looks and in fact could be undermined or feel significantly more temporary in a simple instant.

AFDSGX January 26, 1:49pm

FXUS66 KSGX 262149 AFDSGX Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service San Diego CA 149 PM PST Wed Jan 26 2022 .SYNOPSIS... Offshore flow will prevail into early Saturday, with a period of gusty Santa Ana winds from the east peaking Friday. A slow cooling trend and cloudier weather weather will return Saturday, bringing a chance of light showers to the mountains. Cooler and breezy conditions expected into next week.

Remembering

NASA Pays Tribute to Fallen Heroes with Day of Remembrance

"Various NASA centers also will hold observances for NASA Day of Remembrance. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year's events across the agency will be limited to invited guests and closed to media."

Keith's note: Like many other people in the DC area I have been going to these Arlington memorial events as often as I could for more than 30 years - especially when I served on the board of directors of the Challenger Center For Space Science Education. This event is held in a huge public outdoor place but NASA now uses COVID as an excuse to limit attendance. Anyone who has been there knows that this is a vast open space. This really sad.

Letterman Will Return to Late Night for 40th Anniversary

This time I really did plotz.

 ★ 

US Air Force spends $60 million on supersonic commercial airliner

Promotional image of supersonic passenger jet.

Enlarge / Could Air Force officers fly on Boom Supersonic's Overture aircraft one day? (credit: Boom Supersonic)

The US military has indicated its interest in commercial supersonic flight by granting as much as $60 million to Boom Supersonic for its airliner development efforts.

The Colorado-based company has announced that the Air Force awarded a three-year contract to Boom to accelerate research and development of its Overture airliner. Separately this week, Boom selected Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, as the site of its first full-scale manufacturing facility. There, Boom plans to begin production in 2024, with the first Overture aircraft slated to roll out in 2025, fly in 2026, and carry its first passengers by 2029.

Boom is designing Overture to carry between 65 and 88 passengers at subsonic speeds over land and supersonic speeds over water—more than twice as fast as current commercial aircraft. The aircraft is designed to operate on 100 percent "sustainable" fuels, and the company says the vehicle will be net-zero carbon from day one.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nadia Boulanger, the Most Influential Music Teacher of the 20th Century

At one point or another, legendary music teacher Nadia Boulanger taught Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones, and many many more. In the video above, Oscar Osicki of Inside the Score tells us about this remarkable woman and how she came to be “arguably the most renowned music teacher in the world”.

Later in his life, Aaron Copeland wrote to Boulanger about the influence she’d had on him:

It’s almost 30 years (hard to believe) since we met — and I still count our meeting the most important event of my musical life. What you did for me — at exactly the period I most needed it — is unforgettable. Whatever I have accomplished is intimately associated in my mind with those early years and with what you have since been as inspiration and example. All my gratitude and thanks go to you, dear Nadia.

Quincy Jones:

Nadia Boulanger used to tell me all the time, “Quincy, your music can never be more or less than you are as a human being.” It’s okay to play fast and all that other stuff, but unless you have a life experience, and have something to say that you’ve lived, you have nothing to contribute at all. So I decided to live my life, and I did.

See also The greatest music teacher who ever lived and She Was Music’s Greatest Teacher. And Much More. (via open culture)

Tags: music   Nadia Boulanger   Oscar Osicki   video

White House official: Norms needed for ‘satellite to satellite interaction’

Audrey Schaffer, director of space policy at the National Security Council, said an emerging concern is whether there should be a set of rules for satellites that dock with other satellites.

The post White House official: Norms needed for ‘satellite to satellite interaction’ appeared first on SpaceNews.

The need to deregulate legal advice

Offering tips on how to fight a suit would probably be illegal. Rules in New York, as in most states, forbid practicing law without a license, and giving individualized advice on how to respond to litigation is generally considered practicing law.

On Tuesday, Upsolve took a step aimed at undoing the catch: It filed a lawsuit against the state attorney general’s office in federal court in Manhattan, arguing that barring nonlawyers from giving the kind of basic advice Upsolve would teach them to offer would violate the First Amendment. Pastor Udo-Okon is a co-plaintiff.

Upsolve says a ruling in its favor would clear the way for thousands of lay professionals — social workers, clergy members, community organizers and the like — to help correct a gigantic imbalance in the legal playing field.

According to a 2020 Pew Charitable Trusts report, at least four million Americans a year are sued over consumer debt. Less than 10 percent retain lawyers, and more than 70 percent of cases end in default judgments against the defendant.

In 2018 and 2019, a total of 265,000 consumer debt suits were filed in city and district civil courts in New York State. Over 95 percent of the defendants were not represented by a lawyer, and of those, 88 percent did not respond to the suit, according to figures from the state court system.

Upsolve’s co-founder, Rohan Pavuluri, called the situation a “fundamental civil rights injustice.”

Here is the full NYT piece, and I am pleased that Emergent Ventures has been an early supporter of their work.

The post The need to deregulate legal advice appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

       

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FOMC Statement: End Asset Purchases in Early March, "Soon appropriate" to Raise Rates

Fed Chair Powell press conference video here starting at 2:30 PM ET.

FOMC Statement:
Indicators of economic activity and employment have continued to strengthen. The sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic have improved in recent months but are being affected by the recent sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. Job gains have been solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined substantially. Supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic and the reopening of the economy have continued to contribute to elevated levels of inflation. Overall financial conditions remain accommodative, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses.

The path of the economy continues to depend on the course of the virus. Progress on vaccinations and an easing of supply constraints are expected to support continued gains in economic activity and employment as well as a reduction in inflation. Risks to the economic outlook remain, including from new variants of the virus.

The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. In support of these goals, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, the Committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate. The Committee decided to continue to reduce the monthly pace of its net asset purchases, bringing them to an end in early March. Beginning in February, the Committee will increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $20 billion per month and of agency mortgage‑backed securities by at least $10 billion per month. The Federal Reserve's ongoing purchases and holdings of securities will continue to foster smooth market functioning and accommodative financial conditions, thereby supporting the flow of credit to households and businesses.

In assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook. The Committee would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee's goals. The Committee's assessments will take into account a wide range of information, including readings on public health, labor market conditions, inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and financial and international developments.

Voting for the monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chair; John C. Williams, Vice Chair; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; James Bullard; Esther L. George; Patrick Harker; Loretta J. Mester; and Christopher J. Waller. Patrick Harker voted as an alternate member at this meeting.
emphasis added

Think About the Donuts of Your Day!

Twitter user @EPrecipice was a little nervous for a meeting at work so her 5-year-old shared some advice with her — “Mama, I am nervous all the time. I know what to do.”

1. “You gotta say your affirmations in your mouth and your heart. You say, ‘I am brave of this meeting!’ , ‘I am loved!’, ‘I smell good!’ And you can say five or three or ten until you know it.”

2. “You gotta walk big. You gotta mean it. Like Dolly on a dinosaur. Because you got it.”

And my absolute favorite:

4. “Think about the donuts of your day! Even if you cry a little, you can think about potato chips!”

Five-year-old or not, this is some of the best actionable advice I’ve ever heard.

Star Trek tribute mission to fly on ULA’s Vulcan inaugural launch

Celestis, a company that provides space memorial services, will launch a Star Trek tribute mission on the first flight of United Launch Alliance’s new rocket Vulcan Centaur, ULA announced Jan. 26.

The post Star Trek tribute mission to fly on ULA’s Vulcan inaugural launch appeared first on SpaceNews.

Wednesday assorted links

1. The political culture that is El Salvador?

2. The wisdom of Derek Thompson: “The evidence of state pre-K effectiveness has gotten worse over the last 50 years…”

3. Alice Evans on why MENA is so hierarchical.

4. Who gets Long Covid? (NYT)

5. The world of extreme ironing.

6. Markets in everything: these apps reserve the right to sell your prayers.

The post Wednesday assorted links appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

       

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BREAKING

Multiple news organizations report that Justice Breyer plans to retire at the end of this term.

It’s important to note that this is good news. Or at least, as is often the case these days, it forestalls worse news, which in this case would be Breyer leaving the bench with the Senate in Republicans hands. It is a given today that a Republican senate would simply refuse to seat any Supreme Court nominee from a Democratic President. This sets up a high stakes nomination process which is likely to come down to how much game-playing we can expect from Senators Manchin and Sinema.

What Will Pandemic Life Be Like in a Month?

Bob Wachter is the chair of the Department of Medicine at the USCF medical center and last week he posted a pair of threads about what the Covid rates might look like in a month and how we might behave if that comes to pass (and if we don’t get another variant mucking things up). I’m going to quote extensively from Wachter’s threads because I think they contain some things that people need to hear right now.

In the first thread, he explains why an individual’s risk of catching Covid will likely be quite low a month from now:

The virus is the same, your immunity is the same, the chances of getting infected from a given encounter much the same. Yet I predict that I — and most of us — who are trying our best to dodge Omicron now will be more “open” next month. Does that make sense?

Yes! It’s all about community prevalence — basically the chances that the person next to you at the restaurant, the movie, or the store is infectious w/ Covid. It they’re not, your encounter is 100% safe. If they are, your encounter is as risky as it is today.

Today, near the Omicron peak, the odds an asymptomatic person has Covid is ~10% in most of U.S. At 10% prevalence, when you enter a room w/ 20 people, there’s an 88% chance that one of them has Covid. Do that enough times without masks and you’re going to get infected.

In a month — if cases fall to prior non-surge #’s — the prevalence among asymptomatic people may be more like 0.2% — even in less vaxxed regions, which’ll have more people whose immunity came from infection. (They should still get vaxxed for better & longer protection.)

0.2% means that the odds of an asymptomatic person having Covid=1-in-500. That room of 20 people: now a 4% chance (1-in-25) that someone’s infected. Not zero — you’ll still want to be careful if you’re at very high risk. But for most, % is low enough to feel pretty safe.

And because overall rates would be much lower, the chances of survival for those who do get Covid will increase because hospitals won’t be overwhelmed, testing will be more available, and antiviral medicines will be more available. Caveats:

Yes, the specter of Long Covid (for some, mild; others disabling) continues — maybe a ~5% chance in a vaxxed person. Some will look at those odds as being concerning enough that they’ll continue to act very cautiously. I probably won’t, but it’s an understandable choice.

And others who have lots of contact w/ very vulnerable people — unvaxxed who didn’t get Omicron, for example, or immunosuppressed - may also make different choices. That’s entirely reasonable.

And there’s also this…he’s fairly confident rates will be low this spring but perhaps not later in the year (because under-vaccinated people’s immunity from catching Omicron in the past 2 months will have waned):

As for me, this is why the community prevalence (cases, test pos %) will dominate my decisions. If they don’t plummet, I’ll keep my guard up until they do. And while I’m reasonably confident about the Spring, my confidence level falls as we move to later in the year.

In the second thread, Wachter talks about how we’ll know when the risk is low and shares how his behavior will change once that happens:

Add it all up & it’s clear that this Spring — w/ a milder virus & nearly 100% population immunity — may be about as safe as it gets… perhaps for many years. Thus I see this Spring as a time when everyone (especially those who have been extra careful for two years) needs to figure out how to navigate a far less risky landscape. (Cue the usual caveat: a new variant could easily screw things up, yet again.)

The bottom line is this: in a few weeks — when this surge ends — things are going to be as good as they’re likely to get for the foreseeable future.

Here’s how he’s going to know when his personal risk level is low enough to do some things differently:

What will my trigger be for switching to less cautious mode? It’s a bit arbitrary - there’s no bright line separating “too risky” & “not risky.” This means that others may come up w/ different thresholds.

Mine will be case rates <10/100K/day (recognizing that reported cases now underestimate case #’s due to home testing). I’d also like to see test positivity rates of <1%. (The math: when we reach a 1% overall rate in SF, that would translate to a ~0.5% asymptomatic positivity rate; or 1/200 asymptomatic people having Covid. At that prevalence, in a room of 15 folks, there’s a 7% chance that at least 1 has Covid.)

So what does that mean in terms of shifting behavior? Here’s Wachter’s personal plan w/ his acceptable level of risk:

The main questions center on indoor spaces crowded with unmasked people of uncertain vaccination status. Small indoor groups, visiting friends & family, indoor dining: all fine, without masks.

If I had school-aged kids who were fully vaccinated, I’d be comfortable without masks in school, particularly if there were a school-wide vaccine requirement and good ventilation.

My practice will be to always carry a KN95, and to don it in very crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with lots of unmasked people, particularly in parts of the U.S. or world with low vax or high case rates. I can’t tell you how crowded or how poorly ventilated, any more than I can say how likely rain needs to be in forecast before I grab an umbrella. I’ll just trust my Spidey Sense: how long I’ll be in space, how awkward wearing a mask will be, whether folks are speaking, yelling, singing, or just standing around. Does it feel scary?

At least at first, I’ll still mask on public transit (trains, planes) & shopping — crowded public spaces w/ lots of unmasked people. Once masks are no longer mandated, I don’t think I’ll mask at the hospital unless I’m seeing a patient with respiratory symptoms.

Both threads are worth a careful read to catch all the caveats and to get a full picture of his reasoning regarding risk and behavior. Hopefully reading them will give you a similar sense of empowerment and hope that they gave me.

Tags: Bob Wachter   Covid-19

December New Home Sales: Inventory of homes under construction highest since 2007

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: December New Home Sales: Inventory of homes under construction highest since 2007

Brief excerpt:
The next graph shows new home sales for 2020 and 2021 by month (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate). Sales in 2021 (762 thousand) were 7.3% below sales in 2020 (822 thousand).

Active InventoryThe year-over-year comparisons were easy in the first half of 2021 - especially in March and April. However, sales will be down year-over-year again in January since the sales were delayed in 2020 - and sales in the winter were strong.
...
The next graph shows the months of supply by stage of construction. “Months of supply” is inventory at each stage, divided by the sales rate.

Active InventoryThe inventory of completed homes for sale was at 39 thousand in December, up from the record low of 33 thousand in March, April, May and July 2021. That is about 0.6 months of completed supply (red line). This is about half the normal level.

The inventory of new homes under construction is at 3.9 months (blue line) - well above the normal level. This elevated level of homes under construction is due to supply chain constraints. And 101 thousand homes have not been started - about 1.5 months of supply (grey line) - almost double the normal level.
You can subscribe at https://calculatedrisk.substack.com/.

New Home Sales increase to 811,000 Annual Rate in December; Sales down 7.3% in 2021

The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 744 thousand.

The previous three months were revised down, combined.
Sales of new single‐family houses in December 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 811,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 11.9 percent above the revised November rate of 725,000, but is 14.0 percent below the December 2020 estimate of 943,000.

An estimated 762,000 new homes were sold in 2021. This is 7.3 percent below the 2020 figure of 822,000.
emphasis added
New Home SalesClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions since 1963. The dashed line is the current sales rate.

New home sales are now declining year-over-year since sales soared following the first few months of the pandemic.

The second graph shows New Home Months of Supply.

New Home Sales, Months of SupplyThe months of supply decreased in December to 6.0 months from 6.6 months in November.

The all-time record high was 12.1 months of supply in January 2009. The all-time record low was 3.5 months, most recently in October 2020.

This is at the top of the normal range (about 4 to 6 months of supply is normal).
"The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 403,000. This represents a supply of 6.0 months at the current sales rate."
New Home Sales, NSAThe last graph shows sales NSA (monthly sales, not seasonally adjusted annual rate).

In December 2021 (red column), 57 thousand new homes were sold (NSA). Last year, 61 thousand homes were sold in December.

The all-time high for December was 87 thousand in 2005, and the all-time low for December was 23 thousand in 2010.

This was above expectations of 760 thousand SAAR, however sales in the three previous months were revised down, combined. I'll have more later today.

Screaming Baby Dolls

a creepy looking screaming doll

a creepy looking screaming doll

a creepy looking screaming doll

I am sorry for posting this nightmare fuel first thing in the morning, but there’s something about the aesthetics of these crying dolls that is really compelling/disturbing. I am far enough removed from my kids being infants that looking at these doesn’t give me an instant stress response, but 10 years ago this probably would have had my heart racing. (via @john_overholt)

GEO satellite operators seek multi-orbit strategies

Beyond the technical challenges of combining GEO satellites with constellations is figuring out how to work with those constellations — and if those constellations want to work with them.

The post GEO satellite operators seek multi-orbit strategies appeared first on SpaceNews.

Matching and market design in the January issue of Theoretical Economics

 The current issue has three papers on the market design of matching markets.

Theoretical Economics, Volume 17, Number 1 (January 2022): Table of Contents

Here are the market design articles that caught my eye:

Rank-optimal assignments in uniform markets  by Afshin Nikzad

"We prove that in a market where agents rank objects independently and uniformly at random, there exists an assignment of objects to agents with a constant average rank (i.e., an average rank independent of the market size). The proof builds on techniques from random graph theory and the FKG inequality (Fortuin et al. (1971)). When the agents’ rankings are their private information, no Dominant Strategy Incentive Compatible mechanism can implement the assignment with the smallest average rank; however, we show that there exists a Bayesian Incentive Compatible mechanism that does so. Together with the fact that the average rank under the Random Serial Dictatorship (RSD) mechanism grows infinitely large with the market size, our findings indicate that the average rank under RSD can take a heavy toll compared to the first-best, and highlight the possibility of using other assignment methods in scenarios where average rank is a relevant objective.

*******

Family ties: school assignment with siblings by Umut Dur, Thayer Morrill, and William Phan

"We introduce a generalization of the school choice problem motivated by the following observations: students are assigned to grades within schools, many students have siblings who are applying as well, and school districts commonly guarantee that siblings will attend the same school. This last condition disqualifies the standard approach of considering grades independently as it may separate siblings. We argue that the central criterion in school choice—elimination of justified envy—is now inadequate as it does not consider siblings. We propose a new solution concept, suitability, that addresses this concern, and we introduce a new family of strategy-proof mechanisms where each satisfies it. Using data from the Wake County magnet school assignment, we demonstrate the impact on families of our proposed mechanism versus the “naive” assignment where sibling constraints are not taken into account."

**********

Optimal organ allocation policy under blood-type barriers with the donor-priority rule by Jaehong Kim and Mengling Li

"Shortages in organs for transplantation have resulted in a renewed interest in designing incentive policies to promote organ supply. The donor-priority rule, which grants priority for transplantation based on deceased organ donor registration status, has proven to be effective in both theory and practice. This study investigates the implications of the donor-priority rule for optimal deceased organ allocation policy design under a general formulation of blood-type barriers. We find that for any blood typing and organ matching technology, reserving type X organs for only type X patients maximizes the aggregate donation rate under regular distributions, which also ensures equity in organ sharing. Moreover, this is the unique optimal allocation policy if and only if the directed compatibility graph that corresponds to a given organ matching technology is acyclic."

James Webb Space Telescope reaches final orbital destination

An illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope fully deployed at the Earth-Sun L2 location. Credit: NASA

An illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope fully deployed at the Earth-Sun L2 location. Credit: NASA

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has reached its final destination after a 30-day trek that began on Christmas Day.

The most powerful space telescope ever built, the tennis court-size observatory reached its destination — the second Earth-Sun Lagrange Point, or L2 — after a five-minute course correction burn.

The James Webb Space Telescope launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket on Dec. 25, 2021. Credit: Jeremy Beck / Spaceflight Insider

The James Webb Space Telescope launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket on Dec. 25, 2021. Credit: Jeremy Beck / Spaceflight Insider

This third and final burn, which took place at about 2 p.m. EST (19:00 UTC) Jan. 24, 2022, changed the spacecraft’s velocity by a mere 3.6 miles per hour (about 1.6 meters per second), according to NASA, which was enough to place it in a “halo” orbit around the L2 point.

“Webb, welcome home!” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in an agency update. “Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work ensuring Webb’s safe arrival at L2 today. We’re one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe. And I can’t wait to see Webb’s first new views of the universe this summer!”

According to NASA, L2 is a semi-stable point in which objects tend to stay in place with the help of the gravitational pull of the Sun and Earth. Only a minimal amount of fuel is required for the $10 billion Webb telescope to remain at the location, which is about 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) “behind” Earth as viewed from the Sun.

The first images from Webb are expected by mid-summer 2022 after a planned six-month commissioning phase.

Webb’s halo orbit around the L2 point is optimal for astronomy, offering an unobstructed view of space as the telescope is able to avoid passing through Earth’s shadow. Moreover, combined with its massive sunshield, the telescope is able to get incredibly cold — around minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 223 degrees Celsius) — which is perfect for collecting as much infrared light as possible.

A trajectory diagram for the James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: Steve Sabia / NASA Goddard

A trajectory diagram for the James Webb Space Telescope. Click to enlarge. Credit: Steve Sabia / NASA Goddard

“We were just setting the table,” Keith Parrish, the observatory manager for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said during a press conference just after it reached its final parking space. “We were just getting on station, getting this beautiful spacecraft from unfolded and ready to do science. The best is yet to come.”

Between its Dec. 25, 2021, launch and its arrival at L2, the spacecraft unfolded from its compact launch configuration, deploying its five-layer sunshield, antennas, secondary mirror and primary mirror.

Moreover, the 18 individual gold coated hexagonal segments of Webb’s 21-foot (6.5-meter) primary mirror — each about the size of a coffee table — were raised from their launch position to be readied to be fine-tuned and carefully aligned as the spacecraft prepares to collect imagery and science as it peers back to the origins of the universe.

“During the past month, JWST has achieved amazing success and is a tribute to all the folks who spent many years and even decades to ensure mission success,” Bill Ochs, Webb project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a NASA news release. “We are now on the verge of aligning the mirrors, instrument activation and commissioning, and the start of wondrous and astonishing discoveries.”

Video courtesy of NASA

The post James Webb Space Telescope reaches final orbital destination appeared first on SpaceFlight Insider.

Ukraine Notes #1

ACCORDING TO AXIOS, THE Emir of Qatar will meet with President Biden Monday at the White House in part to discuss contingency plans to supply natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia provides 40% of Europe’s natural gas needs. In addition to whatever possible interruption of supply might be caused by actual hostilities, gas supplies are a key lever Russia could use in any tit for tat of sanctions or economic hostilities that could follow a land invasion. The global economy is already struggling with pandemic driven supply chain woes and inflation which is driven in significant part by high energy prices. A cut off of fuel supply to Europe or more likely just a major price shock could wreak havoc on the global economy when it is already highly strained and vulnerable. Qatar is one of the world’s top producers of natural gas. So it’s uniquely positioned to ramp up supply to ward off or cushion any supply shocks.

I don’t know enough about the global natural gas market or how much gas could realistically be routed into Europe by other means in a crisis. (I suspect the issue is more flooding the market generally to prevent price spikes.) But I note these talks because it captures the complexity and gravity of the burgeoning crisis in Ukraine. This isn’t just about what happens in Ukraine. It’s not just about the always hard to evaluate impact on US “credibility” or standing around the globe and its impact on other hotspots, like the Taiwan Straits for instance. It has potentially immediate and grave impacts on the US and global economy, which in turn has direct impacts on the domestic political situation in the United States. It’s a very bad situation.

ONE OF THE THINGS you hear commentators say again and again is that no one really knows what Russia’s goal or end game is with its large military buildup on Ukraine’s borders. The big picture is clear enough. The current Russian government does not see Ukraine as a legitimate or real country but rather a part of the greater Russian state. That is true for nationalistic and historic reasons but also for security ones. Ukraine is a logical invasion route into Russia. This means if not annexing Ukraine then at least ensuring it is a satellite state without an independent let alone a hostile foreign policy. But what the particular goal or strategy or endgame is is much less clear.

A basic reality of any use of military force is that geopolitical goals must be aligned with a military strategy. They’re not the same. But they need to connect up. Talking with various experts and reading the news, Russia’s hoped for outcome seems fairly clear: Rain destruction down on Ukraine from the air, break a lot of stuff and do a lot of damage to the Ukrainian military and hope that that breaks the Ukrainian state. The government falls and a pro-Russian government takes over. That would set the clock back to 2014 when the government of Viktor Yanukovych fell.

But what if you break a lot of things and the government doesn’t fall? Then what? The invading power in that case can quickly lose control of the situation or rather face the bad choice of withdrawing or escalating in ways that are difficult to sustain. Actually occupying Ukraine or all but the eastern regions that have already been hostile to the central government in Kyiv would be costly and difficult. It’s not the same as annexing Crimea. Without foreign intervention from NATO, which is certainly not happening, Russia could probably overrun at least the eastern half of Ukraine without too much difficulty. But holding it could be costly and eventually unsustainable.

I say this all simply to note that this is a riskier situation for Russia than much of the public commentary seems to allow. A Russian invasion very well could force the collapse of the Ukraine government. That may be the most likely outcome. Or Russia might follow the model from the Caucasus and set up a breakaway statelet in the east which no one but Russia recognizes. But it’s not clear to me that Russia has a clear or good military strategy in case those things – which aren’t totally under its control – don’t happen and don’t happen relatively quickly. There are countless examples from history where a superior powers decides that if it just drops a lot of bombs and breaks a lot of stuff the civilian population in the target country will either turn against the government or grow demoralized and the attacking power will then get what it wants. But at least as often that is not what happens.

FINALLY, WE CAN SEE here the larger conflict between civic democracy and revisionist authoritarianism which is a fact around the globe and has been deepened by the two years of the COVID pandemic. Global crisis creates zero-sum logic everywhere. High trust relations between states is replaced by high fear relations. High fear is a zero sum reality. We see that at home in the implicit question hovering over our domestic politics which is whether the Biden administration has the strength and ability to wrestle the domestic and global economy into stability and warn off military challenges to the global order. Yesterday the IMF cut its forecast for global growth in 2022 citing Omicron, continuing global supply chain disruptions and inflation. A growing and quite understandable question abroad is whether US domestic politics is stable enough to allow it to backstop the global order it in many respects created and still superintends. It’s a good question, isn’t it?

Satellogic completes SPAC merger

Satellogic satellites

Earth observation company Satellogic will start trading as a public company Jan. 26 after completing a delayed merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The post Satellogic completes SPAC merger appeared first on SpaceNews.

China’s Private Cities

In Rising private city operators in contemporary China, Jiao and Yu report that China’s private cities are growing.

…the last decade has witnessed a large growth in private city operators (PCOs) who plan, finance, build, operate and manage the infrastructure and public amenities of a new city as a whole. Different from previous PPPs, PCOs are a big breakthrough…they manage urban planning, industry development, investment attraction, and public goods and services. In other words, the traditional core functions of municipal governments are contracted out, and consequently, a significant neoliberal urban governance structure has become more prominent in China.

In the new business model, the China Fortune Land Development Co., Ltd. (CFLD) was undoubtedly the earliest and most successful. It manages 125 new cities or towns with a total area of over 4000 km2. Founded in 1998, the enterprise group has grown into a business giant with an annual income of CNY 83.8 billion in 2018. The company’s financial statements demonstrate that the annual return rate of net assets has grown as much as 30% annually from 2011 to 2018, which is the highest among the Chinese Fortune 500 companies.

As Rajagopalan and I argued in Lessons from Gurgaon, India’s Private City the key development has been to scale large enough so that the private operator internalizes the externalities. Quoting Jiao and Yu again:

The key to solving this problem is to internalize positive externality so that costs and benefits mainly affect the parties who choose to incur them. The solution of the new model is to outsource Gu’An New Industry City as a whole to CFLD, which becomes involved in the life cycle including planning, infrastructure and amenity construction, investment attraction, operations and maintenance, and enterprise services. In this way, a city is regarded as a special product or a spatial cluster of public goods and services that can be produced by the coalition of the public and private sectors. The large-scale comprehensive development by a single private developer internalizes the externality of non-exclusive public amenities successfully and achieves a closed-loop return on investment.

As a result private firms are willing to make large investments. In Gu’An, an early CFLD city, for example:

CFLD has invested CNY 35 billion to build infrastructure and public amenities, including 181 roads with a length of 204 km, underground pipelines of 627 km, four thermal power plants, six water supply factories, a wastewater treatment plant, three sewage pumping stations, and 30 heat exchange stations. The 2018 Statistical Yearbook of Langfang City illustrates that the annual fiscal revenue increased to CNY 9 billion, and the fixed asset investment was approximately CNY 20 billion, and Gu’An achieved great success in terms of economic growth and urban development strongly promoted by the collaboration with CFLD.

By the way, The Journal of Special Jurisdictions, is looking for papers on these cities:

Although a relatively recent phenomenon in urban development, Chinese Contract Cities already cover 66,000 square kilometers and house tens of millions of residents. They host a wide range of businesses and have attracted huge amounts of investment. In cooperation, local government entities, private or public firms plan, build and operate Chinese contract cities.  Developers obtain land via contracts with local government or long-term leases with village collectives and enjoy revenues generated from economic activity in the planned and developed community. Residents contract a management firm for housing and other municipal services. In that way, Chinese contract cities offer innovative solutions to urban finance, planning, and management challenges.

The Chinese Contract Cities Conference will offer the world’s first international gathering of experts on this important new phenomenon.

…The proceedings of the Chinese Contract Cities Conference will appear in the Journal of Special Jurisdictions.

See also my previous post on Jialong, China’s Private City.

Photo of Gu’an from Wharton.

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MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest Weekly Survey

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications decreased 7.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 21, 2022.

... The Refinance Index decreased 13 percent from the previous week and was 53 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent compared with the previous week and was 11 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“All mortgage rates in MBA’s survey continued to climb, with the 30-year fixed rate rising for the fifth consecutive week to its highest level since March 2020. The 30-year fixed rate is now 77 basis points higher than it was a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Unsurprisingly, borrower demand for refinances subsided, with applications falling for the fourth straight week. After almost two years of lower rates, there are not many borrowers left who have an incentive to refinance. Of those who are still in the market for a refinance, these higher rates are proving much less attractive to them.”

Added Kan, “The decline in purchase activity was led by a 5 percent drop in government applications, compared to a modest less than one percent decline in conventional applications. The relative weakness in government purchase activity continues to contribute to higher loan sizes. The average purchase loan size was $433,500, eclipsing the previous record of $418,500 set two weeks ago.”
...
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 3.72 percent from 3.64 percent, with points decreasing to 0.43 from 0.45 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.
emphasis added
Mortgage Refinance IndexClick on graph for larger image.


The first graph shows the refinance index since 1990.

With higher mortgage rates, the refinance index has declined sharply.

The second graph shows the MBA mortgage purchase index

Mortgage Purchase IndexAccording to the MBA, purchase activity is down 11% year-over-year unadjusted.

Note: Red is a four-week average (blue is weekly).

Blue Origin to acquire Honeybee Robotics

Phoenix scoop

Blue Origin is buying Honeybee Robotics, a company that develops robotic systems for space and other extreme environments.

The post Blue Origin to acquire Honeybee Robotics appeared first on SpaceNews.

Some thoughts and evidence on racial preferences in admissions

Well, it looks like America’s national conversation about race is about to get another topic of discussion: The Supreme Court has decided to hear challenges to racial preferences in college admissions, starting in October. The last time SCOTUS adjudicated this topic was in 2003, when it declared that racial preferences could stay, but only if colleges used them as one of many factors, and with an eye toward ensuring a diverse student body. Now, with a more conservative set of justices on the bench, many experts expect the court to overturn that ruling and just ban racial preferences outright.

It’s worth noting that unlike with abortion, where SCOTUS’ recent moves to weaken Roe v. Wade go against the general lean of public opinion, this would probably be a popular move. A strong majority of Americans of all races and political parties opposes the use of race as a factor in college admissions:

This is not because Americans are against using policy to increase the number of Black and minority students on campus. In fact, they are strongly in favor of that idea:

It’s only explicitly using race as a factor in admissions that Americans oppose. Gallup surveys confirm this dichotomy — people are in favor of “affirmative action”, but oppose explicit racial preferences:

Americans' top-of-mind reactions to the term affirmative action are generally positive. Gallup asks a straightforward question about affirmative action without a definition or explanation -- "Do you generally favor or oppose affirmative action programs for racial minorities?" -- and as of Gallup's last asking in 2018, 61% of Americans were in favor, while 30% were opposed. Support has increased from the range of 47% to 50% who were in favor in 2001, 2003 and 2005…

Americans are also solidly behind the broad concept of equal opportunity and improving the position of racial minorities in society -- the underlying rationale for affirmative action…

Despite this majority consensus for the general concept of affirmative action and the need for more action on reducing racial inequities, public support appears significantly lower when questions ask about policies that explicitly take race into account to achieve these objectives…72% of U.S. adults oppose giving preference to Black Americans in hiring and promotion, including 43% who say they oppose strongly…[T]hese results highlight the complexities of public opinion when considerations of affirmative action get down to specifics.

A cynic might interpret this disparity as a form of hypocrisy — people wanting to think they’re in favor of racial equality but shying away when the rubber hits the road. But I think the fact that Black Americans also display this divergence in poll responses suggests that something subtler — and more reasonable — is at work here. I’ll speculate more about this later on, and suggest some ideas for how to square the circle.

But for now, let’s think about the policy itself. Social science research can’t tell you what’s right and wrong, nor can it adjudicate the law. But it can offer some information about what’s at stake — about what effects different policies have. Americans want policies to increase opportunity for historically disadvantaged minorities, but they don’t want explicit racial preferences. So let’s take a look at the evidence on affirmative action programs, including racial preferences, and see what works and what doesn’t work.

Racial preferences in college admissions: The evidence

One theory of racial preferences is that they improves minority achievement by spurring minority kids to greater efforts. If Black kids, for example, feel that the deck of the education system is stacked against them, they may not try hard in school; if they know there are programs out there to help them get into top colleges, they may take their schooling more seriously.

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Pre-order *Talent* at a Barnes & Noble discount

“Between 1/26 – 1/28, get 25% off when you preorder TALENT online only at @BNBuzz! Use code: PREORDER25 https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/talent-tyler-cowen/1138462103

Here is my previous post on Talent, a book co-authored with Daniel Gross.

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Where I differ from Bryan Caplan’s *Labor Econ Versus the World*

One thing I liked about reading this book is I was able to narrow down my disagreements with Bryan to a smaller number of dimensions.  And to be clear, I agree with a great deal of what is in this book, but that does not make for an interesting blog post.  So let’s focus on where we differ.  One point of disagreement surfaces when Bryan writes:

Tenet #6: Racial and gender discrimination remains a serious problem, and without government regulation, would still be rampant.

Critique: Unless government requires discrimination, market forces make it a marginal issue at most.  Large group differences persist because groups differ largely in productivity.

I would instead stress that most of the inequity occurs upstream of labor markets, through the medium of culture.  It is simply much harder to be born in the ghetto!  I am fine with not calling this “discrimination,” and indeed I do not myself use the word that way.  Still, it is a significant inequity, and it is at least an important a lesson about labor markets as what Bryan presents to you.

But you won’t find much consideration of it in Bryan’s book.  The real problems in labor markets arise when “the cultural upstream” intersects with other social institutions in problematic ways.  To give a simple example, Princeton kept Jews out for a long time, and that was not because of the government.  Or Princeton voted to admit women only in 1969, again not the government.  What about Major League Baseball before Jackie Robinson or even for a long while after?  Much of Jim Crow was governmental, but so much of it wasn’t.  There are many such examples, and I don’t see that Bryan deals with them.  And they have materially affected both people’s lives and their labor market histories, covering many millions of lives, arguably billions.

Or, the Indian government takes some steps to remedy caste inequalities, but fundamentally the caste system remains, for whatever reasons.  Again, this kind of cultural upstream isn’t much on Bryan’s radar screen.  (I have another theory that this neglect of culture is because of Bryan’s unusual theory of free will, through which moral blame has to be assigned to individual choosers, but that will have to wait for another day!)

We can go beyond the discrimination topic and still see that Bryan is not paying enough attention to what is upstream of labor markets, or to how culture shapes human decisions.

Bryan for instance advocates open borders (for all countries?).  I think that would be cultural and political suicide, most of all for smaller countries, but for the United States too.  You would get fascism first, if anything.  I do however favor boosting (pre-Covid) immigration flows into the United States by something like 3x.  So in the broader scheme of things I am very pro-immigration.  I just think there are cultural limits to what a polity can absorb at what speed.

If you consider Bryan on education, he believes most of higher education is signaling.  In contrast, I see higher education as giving its recipients the proper cultural background to participate in labor markets at higher productivity levels.  I once wrote an extensive blog post on this.  That is how higher education can be productive, while most of your classes seem like a waste of time.

On poverty, Bryan puts forward a formula of a) finish high school, b) get a full time job, and c) get married before you have children.  All good advice!  But I find that to be nearly tautologous as an explanation of poverty.  To me, the deeper and more important is why so many cultures have evolved to make those apparent “no brainer” choices so difficult for so many individuals.  Again, I think Bryan is neglecting the cultural factors upstream of labor markets and in this case also marriage markets.  One simple question is why some cultures don’t produce enough men worth marrying, but that is hardly the only issue on the table here.

More generally, I believe that once you incorporate these messy “cultural upstream” issues, much of labor economics becomes more complicated than Bryan wishes to acknowledge.  Much more complicated.

I should stress that Bryan’s book is nonetheless a very good way to learn economic reasoning, and a wonderful tonic against a lot of the self-righteous, thoughtless mood affiliation you will see on labor markets, even coming from professional economists.

I will remind that you can buy Bryan’s book here, and at a very favorable price point.

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Xplore to fly sensors on OrbAstro nanosatellites

Xplore announced a contract Jan. 25 to purchase Orbital Astronautics Ltd. satellites for a variety of Earth-observation and astronomical missions.

The post Xplore to fly sensors on OrbAstro nanosatellites appeared first on SpaceNews.

David Ortiz Is A First-Ballot Hall Of Famer (And Now It's Official)



David Ortiz was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Big Papi was the only player elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America to be named on 75% of the ballots. 

Ortiz was named on 307 of 394 ballots (77.9%) and will be inducted with six others on July 24, 2022. The Golden Days and Early Baseball Era committees selected Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Minnie Miñoso and Buck O'Neil.

Barry Bonds finished second (66%), Roger Clemens was third (65.2%), and Curt Schilling was fifth (58.6%). All three players failed to receive the necessary 75% in their tenth and final years on the ballot.

Ortiz spent his first six major league seasons in the Twins organization before being released on December 16, 2002. About one month later, on January 22, 2003, the Red Sox (at the urging of pitcher Pedro Martinez) signed Ortiz as a free agent to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

Ortiz did not become a fixture in Boston's lineup until May, but once he was given a chance, he provided powerful evidence he belonged. From May 14 to June 14, Ortiz batted .433 in 19 games, with an OPS of 1.174. Only two of his 29 hits were home runs, he also smacked 12 doubles and drew five walks while striking out only nine times. The taters came later: eight in July, 11 in August, and eight in September.
"I was the type of player that I know I've got the talent, but all I was looking for was the opportunity to be an everyday player. Thank God at some point it came true, once I got to the Red Sox, and the rest is history. I feel so thankful and grateful for being able to accomplish what I was able to accomplish and, thank God, have the career I have.
The Large Father's heroics in his first five seasons in Boston were many. From his legendary clutch performances in the magical and still-hard-to-believe-it-happened 2004 postseason to setting a Red Sox single-season record with 54 home runs in 2006 (which led the American League, as did his 137 RBI, 119 walks, and 355 total bases) to leading the led Red Sox to another championship in 2007.

His performance in the 2013 World Series was transcendent: 11-for-16, with eight walks.  a .688 batting average (the best average in WS history of anyone with 16+ PA) with and a 1.948 OPS. In 25 plate appearances, he struck out only once as Boston won its third World Series championship in a decade. 

In his final season  2016, at age 40  Flo led both leagues with 48 doubles, a .620 slugging, and a 1.021 OPS. He also topped the AL with 127 RBI.

To the very end, pitchers were wary of facing him in clutch situations. Ortiz led the AL in intentional walks in three of his final four seasons.

In three World Series, Ortiz hit .455 (#5 all-time), with 14 RBI and 14 runs scored in 14 games. He also had 14 walks - and only five strikeouts. with a 1.372 OPS (#4 all-time).

Ortiz's Ranking (World Series, Season)
#2 Batting average: .688 (#1 of anyone with 16+ PA)
#2 On-base percentage: .760  (#1 of anyone with 16+ PA)
#8 Slugging percentage: 1.188 (#2 of anyone with 25+ PA)
#7 OPS: 1.948 (#2 of anyone with 25+ PA)
#7 Walks: 8 (Of the 16 players with 8+ walks, Ortiz had the fewest plate appearances (25))
(All stats from 2013 World Series)

Ortiz's Ranking (World Series, Career)
#5 Batting average: .455
#6 Slugging percentage: .795
#2 OBP: .576 (#1 of anyone with 31+ PA)
#4 OPS: 1.372 (#1 of anyone with 31+ PA)

Ortiz also holds the all-time Division Series (26 seasons, since 1995) records for best average (.714), on-base (.846), slugging (1.571, tied), and OPS (2.418), all accomplished in 2007.

Ortiz really made his mark among Red Sox fans in walkoff situations. From 2003-16, Ortiz came to the plate 106 times (in 85 games) with a chance to win the game. He went 27-for-79 (.342), with 12 home runs. Ortiz had 20 career walkoff hits (23.5% of games), including the postseason, with thirteen of those coming in a three-season stretch (2004-06).

Here's a mind-boggler: Ortiz delivered a game-winning hit in six consecutive games in which he had a chance for a walkoff hit: his final opportunity in 2005 and his first five chances in 2006 (I cite #6 below). I'm not completely sure, but I feel confident that's unprecedented in baseball history.

In June 2017, I wrote:
Back in 2005 and 2006, when Ortiz came to the plate at Fenway Park with a chance to win the game, he never made an out. That is barely an exaggeration. When I compiled the data for the first version of this post (August 1, 2006), I noted that from the end of the 2004 regular season through July 2006, Ortiz came to the plate 19 times in a walkoff situation  and made only three outs. He had a .786 batting average (11-for-14) with seven home runs and 20 RBI!
His July 31, 2006 home run off Cleveland rookie Fausto Carmona (later known as Roberto Hernandez) may be my favourite non-playoff Ortiz walkoff hit. Big Papi was on an amazing streak of winning games and had hit an extra-inning game-winner only two days earlier. With Boston down by two runs and two men on in the ninth, I probably would have bet my year's salary on Ortiz winning the game if someone had asked. It felt like everyone in Fenway Park knew it would happen, including Carmona. Maybe especially Carmona. The Cleveland pitcher threw two balls to build a little tension and then  BAM!  Ortiz crushed a three-run homer to center. All I could do is stare at the TV and laugh.
Ortiz  being human  couldn't keep batting almost .800 in walkoff situations. And at times, he was (admittedly) no longer that guy, the slugger who made pitchers quake in their cleats, but his past heroics remained in the back of everyone's mind when he spat in his batting gloves, clapped those big mitts together, and dug in. For years, a game-winning hit always seemed (to me, anyway) extremely likely.
Of course, the walkoff opportunities listed below tell only a small part of Ortiz's story. But it is a huge part of Big Papi's legend . . .

I also noted that those walkoff stats do not count the numerous home games in which Ortiz tied the score or gave the Red Sox the lead in the 7th or 8th innings and they also do not include any clutch hits on the road. Additionally, home games Ortiz could only tie in the bottom of the 9th (or extra innings) are not included.

A personal Ortiz memory: On May 1, 2013, I was on the field at Skydome, waiting to have a quick chat with Ortiz, to explain that I was (along with Bill Nowlin) writing a book about the 2004 postseason and we would love to have him sit down with Bill at Fenway Park at some point. (Two weeks earlier, on April 19, I had met Kevin Youkilis in the Yankees locker room before finding a quiet place to talk about his memories of his rookie season.) About a dozen Red Sox players milled about nearby; some were running sprints off the first base foul line. At some point I looked up towards the infield and Ortiz was walking in my direction. No one was close enough to me to hear my audible intake of breath. Seeing Jacoby Ellsbury or Koji Uehara was cool, but they didn't come close to jolting my senses or get my heart racing. Ortiz was something else entirely; he seemed larger, more majestic than anyone else (because he was), like a mythic creature emerging from dense fog. The Red Sox PR person went up to Ortiz and then motioned us towards the dugout. I took a seat. Ortiz sat on my right and listened to my spiel about the book project and our wish for a bit of his time in the near future. He listened politely, nodded and said a few words of agreement, and shook my hand. That was it. I did not have a ticket to the game, but I hopped into the stands and selected a seat from which to watch the Red Sox cruise to a 10-1 win. (Bill talked to Ortiz on May 24.)

The 2004 season changed Red Sox fans (and Red Sox fandom) forever. Because of that, there will never be another player who can match David Ortiz for Red Sox heroics at the plate. My interest in the Hall of Fame has shrunk to pretty much zero, but I'm still thrilled to see Ortiz get elected  and on the first ballot.













Mapping Methane Emissions

World map of methane emissions from fossil fuel exploitation
Methane emissions from oil, gas, and coal exploitation in the Global Fuel Exploitation Inventory (GFEI) version 1 in 2016 (Mg/y/km2)

NASA Earth Observatory:

Funded by NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, scientists recently built a new series of maps detailing the geography of methane emissions from fossil fuel production. Using publicly available data reported in 2016, the research team plotted fuel exploitation emissions—or “fugitive emissions” as the UNFCCC calls them—that arise before the fuels are ever consumed. The maps delineate where these emissions occur based on the locations of coal mines, oil and gas wells, pipelines, refineries, and fuel storage and transportation infrastructure. The maps were recently published at NASA’s Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC). (Note that 2016 was the most recent year with complete UN emissions data available at the time of this study.)

Google Kills FLoC, Unveils ‘Topics’, a New Plan to Replace Tracking Cookies

Paul Wagenseil, writing for Tom’s Guide:

Google has ditched its planned user-profiling system, FLoC, and is instead developing a new system called Topics, the company announced today.

Topics, described by Google Senior Director of Product Ben Galbraith as “one of the most ambitious efforts we’ve ever undertaken” during a conference call with reporters, is meant to replace third-party advertising cookies in Chrome by the end of next year. [...]

Topics seems pretty different from FLoC, which stood for Federated Learning of Cohorts. FLoC was intended to analyze your browsing data and place you in one of several thousand “cohorts” made up of Chrome users with similar interests. By comparison, Topics seems more general and should give websites and advertisers much fuzzier data about individual users.

Here’s the thing I don’t understand about this new Topics proposal: Is it baked into the browser? That’s how I’m reading it, and I suspect that means it will wind up being Chrome-only. Why would any other browser support an ad tech proposal that was designed by Google to primarily benefit Google’s own advertising needs.

What happens if a website is dependent on Topics for advertising revenue and you’re using any browser other than Chrome? Will the site try to block you and tell you to switch to Chrome, the way so many sites today try to to block you and tell you to disable your privacy blocker?

(If someone out there understands this proposal and it doesn’t require browsers to support it, let me know.)

 ★ 

Wednesday: New Home Sales, FOMC Statement

Wednesday:
• At 7:00 AM ET, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

• At 10:00 AM, New Home Sales for December from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for 760 thousand SAAR, up from 744 thousand in November.

• At 2:00 PM, FOMC Meeting Statement. The FOMC is expected to announce the final asset purchases.

• At 2:30 PM, Fed Chair Jerome Powell holds a press briefing following the FOMC announcement.

On COVID (focus on hospitalizations and deaths):

COVID Metrics
 NowWeek
Ago
Goal
Percent fully Vaccinated63.5%---≥70.0%1
Fully Vaccinated (millions)210.7---≥2321
New Cases per Day3692,359737,733≤5,0002
Hospitalized3142,814143,339≤3,0002
Deaths per Day3🚩2,1661,791≤502
1 Minimum to achieve "herd immunity" (estimated between 70% and 85%).
2my goals to stop daily posts,
37-day average for Cases, Currently Hospitalized, and Deaths
🚩 Increasing 7-day average week-over-week for Cases, Hospitalized, and Deaths
✅ Goal met.

COVID-19 Positive Tests per DayClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the daily (columns) and 7-day average (line) of positive tests reported.

New cases are now declining.

Unfortunately, deaths are still rising - now averaging over 2 thousand deaths per day - but well below the previous 7-day average record of 3,421 in January 2021.

NASA hosted payloads waiting for rides to orbit

NASA continues to face difficulties in sending some of its payloads to orbit as hosted payloads on commercial satellites.

The post NASA hosted payloads waiting for rides to orbit appeared first on SpaceNews.

Cause of Lucy solar array deployment problem identified

Lucy solar array

Engineers have identified the likely reason one of two solar arrays on NASA’s Lucy asteroid mission failed to latch in place after launch, but NASA is still studying whether to fix the problem.

The post Cause of Lucy solar array deployment problem identified appeared first on SpaceNews.

German Publishers Run Crying to E.U. Regulators Over Google’s Plan to Remove Third-Party Cookies From Chrome

Javier Espinoza, reporting for The Financial Times:

Google is facing a fresh complaint from Germany’s largest publishers and advertisers, which are demanding that the EU intervene over the search giant’s plan to stop the use of third-party cookies. Axel Springer, the publisher of titles such as Bild and Politico, is among the hundreds of publishers, advertisers and media groups that have argued to the bloc’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, that Google is breaking EU law with its move to phase out third-party cookies from its Chrome browser by next year.

What a pile of horseshit. Third-party cookies have proven to be a privacy disaster and other major browsers have already removed support for them — including Safari, Firefox, and Brave. Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world and thus the biggest holdout, and these clowns want the EU’s regulators — a group that would have us believe it is concerned foremost with consumers — to force Google to keep third-party cookie support enabled in Chrome. If the EU doesn’t toss this case out, it’s a joke.

The decision blocks advertisers, publishers and intermediaries from analysing users’ preferences while they browse online content — a critical blow to how the industry generates revenues.

This editorializing from the FT is simply wrong. Publishers aren’t third parties, so they’re free to analyze users’ preferences while those users are on the publishers’ own sites. But what they’re asking for here is for the EU to force Google to allow them to keep “analyzing users’ preferences” while users are anywhere and everywhere else on the web. Just because publishers have been able to profit from surveillance advertising doesn’t mean they have any entitlement whatsoever to keep profiting from it. As I quipped last year, it’s like pawn shops suing to keep the police from cracking down on a wave of burglaries.

“Publishers must remain in a position where they are allowed to ask their users for consent to process data, without Google capturing this decision. Google must respect the relationship between publishers and users without interfering,” said the document, which was also sent to the EU’s powerful competition unit.

Publishers aren’t third parties, so publishers are free to use their own cookies.

Google said: “Many other platforms and browsers have already stopped supporting third-party cookies but Google is the only one to do this openly and in consultation with technical standards bodies, regulators, and the industry, while also proposing new, alternative technologies.”

True!

 ★ 

Google Drops Support for the Pixel 3

Aaron Gordon, writing for Vice:

Not quite three years ago, I bought a Pixel 3, Google’s flagship phone at the time. It has been a good phone. I like that it’s not too big. I dropped it a bunch, but it didn’t break. And the battery life has not noticeably changed since the day I got it. [...] But I have to get rid of it because Google has stopped supporting all Pixel 3s. Despite being just three years old, no Pixel 3 will ever receive another official security update. [...]

But for the past six years, Google has made the Pixel line of phones. They are Google-made phones, meaning Google can’t blame discontinuing security updates on other manufacturers, and yet, it announced that’s exactly what it would do.

As Gordon points out, iOS 15 supports iPhones back to the 6S, which debuted in September 2015, and the original SE, which shipped six months later. (Both the 6S and original SE are based on the A9 chip.)

Update: My theory for this disparity is simple. A lot of people obsess over “planned obsolescence” — the idea that device makers purposefully make several-years-old devices slower or stop issuing software updates for them to drive users to purchase new devices to replace the existing one. I don’t think that’s what’s going on, at least with Google’s Pixel phones. If it were easy to support older Pixels with the latest version of Android, I firmly believe Google would do it. The problem is it’s not easy. In fact it’s very difficult, on both the hardware and software sides. On the hardware side, the device maker needs to be looking more than half a decade ahead. On the software side, engineers need to be looking more than half a decade behind. It’s not spite that leads to Google (and Samsung, and everyone else) supporting their own phones for only two major OS releases after launch, it’s laziness and indifference. Apple is the only phone maker in the world willing to do the hard work to support their devices for five or more years. That’s a fact.

 ★ 

Alien Mission

Fine, we can go search the Himalayas for the Yeti ONE more time, but keep a safe altitude over the Pacific and PLEASE watch where you're going. We can't afford another Amelia Earhart incident.

Commodities traders brace for a war in Ukraine

Tight markets mean that prices are all too responsive to rising tensions

AFWERX to fund development of laser terminal that connects military aircraft with satellites

Space Micro, a defense and NASA contractor recently acquired by Voyager Space, won a contract to design a laser communications terminal to connect military aircraft with geostationary satellites in orbit. 

The post AFWERX to fund development of laser terminal that connects military aircraft with satellites appeared first on SpaceNews.

Where Things Stand: FDA Halting Use Of Some Monoclonal Antibodies Treatments Bursts GOP’s Anti-Vax Bubble

But some Republicans are already using the Biden administration’s new, common sense decision to pour gasoline on their baseless federal overreach fights.

The Food and Drug Administration removed two monoclonal antibody therapies from its list of approved treatments for COVID-19 this week, at least temporarily. Citing clinical data, the FDA said in a statement that it has found two of the treatments “are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant, which is circulating at a very high frequency throughout the United States.” HHS sent out a letter to state officials this week, alerting them that the federal government would stop handing out the treatments made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly to states for now, according to the Washington Post which obtained a copy of the letter.

These kinds of therapies are designed to boost the body’s immune system response to better fight a COVID-19 infection. But the contagious Omicron variant is a highly mutated version of COVID-19 and the Regeneron and Eli Lilly treatments have not been effective against combatting the virus in recent weeks, according to the FDA.

It is only the two treatments that won’t be distributed for now and Patrizia Cavazzoni, the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation stressed in his statement the move could be temporary. If new variants emerge that the therapies are effective in combatting, they’ll be distributed to states again, he said. And there are still several other types of similar medications that have been effective against the new variant, including sotrovimab and antiviral pills produced by Pfizer, and others.

But those disclaimers mean little to some Republicans — one in particular — who are predictably outraged by the FDA’s decision to halt federal distribution of the drugs. A handful of Republican governors have been boosting these antibody therapy treatments for some time, typically as some sort of anti-vax alternative to inoculation.

And as one of most flirtatiously anti-vaccine governors in the country, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been one of the most vocal proponents of this type of treatment (and his aversion to vaccination in general has landed him in hot water with the former president). The medication has been an effective treatments for COVID-19 and the Delta variant in many cases, but federal officials have routinely warned they’re not a replacement for getting the shot.

But DeSantis has a significant stake in this fight, for several reasons. He’s not only quietly campaigning for 2024 on the coat tails of his popularity as the nation’s most anti-COVID-mitigation, anti-vaccine mandate governor, he’s also invested state resources in opening up monoclonal antibody treatment centers in Florida. Even before the FDA announced its decision Monday, his office put out a statement questioning studies that show the treatments haven’t been effective against Omicron.

In the wake of the announcement, DeSantis put out a rather misleading tweet, claiming the Biden administration made the decision “without a shred of clinical data.”

Trumpy lap-dog Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) retweeted it.

But DeSantis’ devotion to the treatments over encouraging vaccination is politically motivated as well. As DeSantis hyped the therapies and opened new antibody therapy clinics across the state this summer, reports surfaced revealing that one of DeSantis’ top political donors is the CEO of the Chicago hedge fund Citadel, which holds more than $15 million in shares in Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc., the Associated Press reported at the time. Citing filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, AP reported that Citadel CEO Ken Griffin had donated more than $10 million to a political fund that boosts DeSantis.

And this all came out as photos surfaced of patients severely sick with COVID-19 sleeping on the floors of Florida’s monoclonal antibody treatment centers waiting for the therapy instead of going to the hospital in some cases — adding a grim layer to the governor’s reported political motivation for boosting the treatment over the shot.

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

Officials Scramble To Contend With Texas’ New Restrictive Voting Law Ahead Of Primaries

Deputy Attorney General Says DOJ Looking Into Fake Trump Electors

New Doc From Durham Hints At Probe’s Direction

Nashville’s Dem Rep Announces Retirement After GOP-Drawn Map Carves Up His District

Judge Bats Away John Eastman’s Attempt To Hide Trump-Related Work Emails

Officer Goodman Doesn’t Want Jan 6 Recognition: A Statue Is For Birds ‘To Take A Dump On’

Federal Court Throws Out Alabama’s New District Map That Shrinks Black Voter Power

From TPM Cafe: DOJ Civil: Progressives Should Pay Attention To How Biden Uses This Powerful Litigating Division

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Newt Threatens Jail for Jan 6th Investigators — Josh Marshall

What We Are Reading

Inside Peloton’s month from hell — Ellen Thomas, Kylie Robison, and Katie Warren

Biden vowed to undo Trump’s toxic legacy. We’re tracking his progress. — Grist

The Democratic Pivot — David Dayen

Correction: This article originally misidentified Citadel as a donor to DeSantis. Citadel’s CEO is the donor.

Temperature Textiles

a blanket with a pattern of CO2 emissions trends on it

a scarf with a pattern of global temperature trends on it

socks with a pattern of sea level rise indicators on them

Temperature Textiles are knitted textiles like blankets, scarves, and socks with patterns drawn from climate crisis indicators like temperature, sea level rise, and CO2 emissions. See also Global Warming Blankets. (via colossal)

Tags: climate crisis   fashion

Two Quick Links for Tuesday Afternoon

The winner ran the world's coldest marathon (held in Yakutia, Siberia) in 3h 22m. The temperature was -53°C. [siberiantimes.com]

Kurt Andersen on how the mass deaths of the deliberately unvaccinated spurred by right-wing media and politicians since mid-2021 tracks with the history of human sacrifice in other cultures & eras. [theatlantic.com]

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Photos: Atlas 5 rocket flies on ULA’s first mission of 2022

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket took off Jan. 21 from Cape Canaveral, climbing off of launch pad 41 with thrust from its Russian-made RD-180 main engine and a single Northrop Grumman solid rocket booster to carry two U.S. military satellites into orbit.

These images from Spaceflight Now’s photographers show the Atlas 5 rocket’s 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) liftoff from Florida’s Space Coast with two satellites for the Space Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program.

The asymmetrical thrust from the rocket’s main engine and strap-on booster caused the Atlas 5 to launch with a noticeable sideways slide, as designed, as it began a nearly seven-hour mission to deploy the GSSAP satellites into orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.

The launch marked the first and only use of the Atlas 5’s “511′ configuration with a large 5.4-meter (17.7-foot) diameter payload fairing and a single strap-on booster. The Atlas 5 rocket comes in 11 different variants, each optimized for a specific payload mass going to a certain orbital destination. The Atlas 5-511 was the last of the 11 configurations to fly.

The GSSAP satellites roam geosynchronous orbit to detect, track, and characterize other spacecraft and space debris.

Read our full story for details on the mission.

Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography
Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography
Credit: Michael Cain / Spaceflight Now / Coldlife Photography

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

Comtech rejects $790 million takeover offer

Satellite communications equipment maker Comtech Telecommunications said Jan. 25 it has rejected a $790 million offer to take over the company. 

The post Comtech rejects $790 million takeover offer appeared first on SpaceNews.

Freddie Mac: Mortgage Serious Delinquency Rate decreased in December

Freddie Mac reported that the Single-Family serious delinquency rate in December was 1.12%, down from 1.24% in November. Freddie's rate is down year-over-year from 2.64% in December 2020.

Freddie's serious delinquency rate peaked in February 2010 at 4.20% following the housing bubble and peaked at 3.17% in August 2020 during the pandemic.

These are mortgage loans that are "three monthly payments or more past due or in foreclosure".

Fannie Freddie Seriously Delinquent RateClick on graph for larger image

Mortgages in forbearance are being counted as delinquent in this monthly report but are not reported to the credit bureaus.

This is very different from the increase in delinquencies following the housing bubble.   Lending standards have been fairly solid over the last decade, and most of these homeowners have equity in their homes - and they will be able to restructure their loans once (if) they are employed.

Also - for multifamily - delinquencies were at 0.08%, down from the peak of 0.20% in April 2021.

Some Early Indications Of What Texas’ Restrictive Voting Law Will Mean

Matt Shuham’s article on the chaos unfolding in Texas right now is worth a read from beginning to end.

In short, in the wake of the state’s new voter restriction law, voters are confused and election administrators are overwhelmed. March primaries are approaching, and the Texas secretary of state’s office seems to be providing little in way of guidance.

For example: Houston’s elections administrators only learned of a key state database for voter information after an Austin official held a press conference to speak out in frustration. Another example: the secretary of state’s online instructions for absentee voters remained out of date until shortly after TPM contacted the office, asking about them.

Read the full piece here.

Military space advocate Rep. Jim Cooper to retire from Congress

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces, announced Jan. 25 that he will not run for re-election in 2022. 

The post Military space advocate Rep. Jim Cooper to retire from Congress appeared first on SpaceNews.

NOAA to move new weather satellite quickly into position

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will move its next Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) into position over the Western United States soon after launch to speed up data delivery to the National Weather Service.

The post NOAA to move new weather satellite quickly into position appeared first on SpaceNews.

Isar Aerospace wins 10 million euro European Commission launch competition

Isar Aerospace won 10 million euros in a European Union prize competition, the latest sign of the E.U.’s growing role in supporting Europe’s launch industry.

The post Isar Aerospace wins 10 million euro European Commission launch competition appeared first on SpaceNews.

The Green Planet

The Green Planet is a new 5-part nature series from the BBC and David Attenborough that focuses on the Earth’s plant life.

Using specialist cameras, this spectacular series allows us to travel beyond the power of the human eye, to look closer at the interconnected world of plants, showcasing over two decades of new discoveries. From deserts, tropical jungles and underwater worlds to seasonal lands and our own urban environment, each episode introduces a set of plants, reveals the battles they face, and the ingenious ways they’ve found to survive.

The trailer is above and here are some clips and behind-the-scenes looks at what it takes to capture some of these incredible scenes.

The Green Planet has already started airing in Britain on BBC, but we won’t be able to see it here in the US until July on PBS.

Tags: David Attenborough   The Green Planet   trailers   TV   video

The New York Times Is Just Fucking With Us Now

Julie Creswell, reporting (supposedly) for The New York Times Friday in a story about inflation hitting fast food:

On a chilly Tuesday afternoon this month, James Marsh stopped by a Chipotle near his suburban Chicago home to grab something to eat.

It had been a while since Mr. Marsh had been to Chipotle — he estimated he goes five times a year — and he stopped cold when he saw the prices.

“I had been getting my usual, a steak burrito, which had been maybe in the mid-$8 range,” said Mr. Marsh, who trades stock options at his home in Hinsdale, Ill. “Now it was more than $9.”

He walked out.

“I figured I’d find something at home,” he said.

Everything about this is just pure bullshit, right down to the dramatic one-sentence-per-paragraph pacing.

 ★ 

Op-ed | LEO broadband: Will this time be different?

Twenty years later, a host of new LEO broadband systems are coming to market, led by Starlink, and the question must be asked: will this time be different?

The post Op-ed | LEO broadband: Will this time be different? appeared first on SpaceNews.

After a successful 2021, Avio is looking forward to the future

Space-based services and applications are increasingly important in our daily life, for the economy, the environment, the resources’ management and for our security.

The post After a successful 2021, Avio is looking forward to the future appeared first on SpaceNews.

NBC Will Not Broadcast This Year’s Super Bowl in 4K

Chaim Gartenberg, writing for The Verge:

The 2022 Super Bowl won’t be broadcast or streamed in 4K again this year when the game takes place on February 13th, NBC Sports has confirmed to The Verge. The lack of a 4K stream marks the second year in a row that the big game won’t be available with the higher level of picture quality. “The game will not be in 4K,” Dan Masonson, a spokesperson for NBC Sports, told The Verge.

NBC, which is hosting the big game this year, has never actually aired an NFL game in 4K or HDR before, despite hosting the nationally televised Sunday Night Football game every week during the regular NFL season. NBC, for what it’s worth, isn’t the only network: CBS doesn’t produce any of its games in 4K (the network cited COVID-19 issues for the lack of a 4K Super Bowl in 2021), nor does ESPN with Monday Night Football.

Bonus points to any electronics retailer that runs a promotion encouraging people to buy an 8K TV in time for “The Big Game”.

Update: Samsung scores the bonus points.

 ★ 

Bloomberg: ‘Nvidia Quietly Prepares to Abandon $40 Billion Arm Bid’

Ian King, Giles Turner, and Peter Elstrom, reporting for Bloomberg:*

Nvidia Corp. is quietly preparing to abandon its purchase of Arm Ltd. from SoftBank Group Corp. after making little to no progress in winning approval for the $40 billion chip deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nvidia has told partners that it doesn’t expect the transaction to close, according to one person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. SoftBank, meanwhile, is stepping up preparations for an Arm initial public offering as an alternative to the Nvidia takeover, another person said.

Good news for Intel, if true.

* Bloomberg, of course, is the publication that published “The Big Hack” in October 2018 — a sensational story alleging that data centers of Apple, Amazon, and dozens of other companies were compromised by China’s intelligence services. The story presented no confirmable evidence at all, was vehemently denied by all companies involved, has not been confirmed by a single other publication (despite much effort to do so), and has been largely discredited by one of Bloomberg’s own sources. By all appearances “The Big Hack” was complete bullshit. Yet Bloomberg has issued no correction or retraction, and their only ostensibly substantial follow-up contained not one shred of evidence to back up their allegations. Bloomberg seemingly hopes we’ll all just forget about it. I say we do not just forget about it. Everything they publish should be treated with skepticism until they retract “The Big Hack” or provide evidence that any of it was true.

 ★ 

The Psychology of Misinformation

In this 15-minute presentation, MIT’s David Rand summarizes what recent research says about psychological factors related to belief in information, both true and false. Repetition, alignment with prior beliefs, and hearing from trusted sources are factors that correlate with more belief in information, regardless of its truth. Those who are more likely to believe specifically in falsehoods in general lack critical thinking skills and digital & media literacy. To combat misinformation, Rand recommends corrections & fact-checks (including crowdsourced efforts) and getting people to think about accuracy before sharing information.

Tags: David Rand   video

My talk at Yale on university Covid policy and how universities really work

I start with about ten minutes of remarks, and then for fifty minutes or so answer questions from Yale students.  This was at Yale’s William F. Buckley group.

The post My talk at Yale on university Covid policy and how universities really work appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

       

Comments

Related Stories

 

Two Quick Links for Tuesday Noonish

"Thinking that endemicity is both mild and inevitable is more than wrong, it is dangerous: it sets humanity up for many more years of disease, including unpredictable waves of outbreaks." [nature.com]

All Your Favorite Cartoon Characters Are Black. "Bugs Bunny, black. Scrappy Doo, black. Elmo, definitely black." [vice.com]

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Addendum

I don’t want to get myself tagged as the guy who thinks Trump’s done. Far from it. I’m just pointing out what may be some fissures in the edifice. There’s one dimension I wanted to add. Everything Trump talks about now is in the past and about him: The Big Lie, Russia, Tony Fauci. When was the last time you heard him talk about the wall or crime or whatever other rightist nationalist applause lines? There are some. But not much. In a way this started in the earliest days of his Presidency when he became obsessed with how his 2016 victory wasn’t sufficiently appreciated, how the Russia probe was trying to steal it from him, etc.

This points to a central but unstable dynamic with Trump. His great power is that despite being born to privilege and having every advantage he speaks the language of grievance as a native tongue. That makes him a natural for revanchist grievance politics in a way that others more immersed in the formal ideology never can be. But there’s always this risk of him going off the rails because it really is all about him. Obsessions become rabbit holes.

The move away from any policy agenda, even one that is sloganeering and insubstantial, is tied to a related trap. Anything you say is terrible today inevitably raises the question of why didn’t you fix it when you were President. We need the wall? Didn’t you have four years to build it? What about what’s happening now? What’s new?

The big thing the GOP is running on now is inflation. But that’s not something that gets Trump revved up. And really he’s mainly focused on stuff about him – all the the ways he’s been wronged. It’s not that he can’t still do a lot with this stuff. He can just say that antifa’s in power and we’re going to lose our country and all his standard lines. But taken together it makes him seem a bit dated and more so as time goes by.

Over time that creates some opening for someone like DeSantis who is very much in the Trump mold but also responding to current events, things that are happening now. Just something to think about.

January Vehicle Sales Forecast: Increase to 15.1 million SAAR

From WardsAuto: January U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Tracking to 7-Month-High Annualized Rate (pay content)

Low inventories and supply issues continue to impact vehicle sales, but it appears the supply chain disruption bottom is in, and sales are starting to recover.

Vehicle Sales ForecastClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows actual sales from the BEA (Blue), and Wards forecast for January (Red).

The Wards forecast of 15.1 million SAAR, would be up about 21% from last month, and down 10% from a year ago (sales were solid in January 2021, as sales recovered from the depths of the pandemic, and weren't yet impacted by supply chain issues).

COVID Notes #10

THIS IS ONE OF the most interesting Twitter threads I’ve read in some time. I’m sure it’s gotten lots of discussion in specialist circles. But it hasn’t been much a part of the general news coverage of COVID. Basically new strains of the flu tend to evolve from recent dominant strains. So people build up an immunity to the Flu A that was big last year and Flu A evolves into Flu B that might get a lot of people sick two or three years in the future. But COVID isn’t working that way, at least not so far. Omicron didn’t evolve from Delta. And Delta didn’t evolve from the Alpha, Beta or Gamma lineages, says Adam Kucharski.

This isn’t just interesting for people focused on the hard science. It adds a potentially significant level of unpredictability to the future of the epidemic. This suggests that we can’t just look at Omicron and analyze what direction it might evolve in next. Each new variant seems to trace way back in the direction of the ancestral Wuhan version of COVID, if not all the way back to Wuhan itself. If the pattern holds, it suggests that the next big variant is off lurking somewhere totally out of view. Perhaps it’s in some isolated region or perhaps in an animal host population or perhaps in one chronically sick individual.

AS OF THIS MORNING the daily COVID case count (5,439) in New York City is barely more than 1/10th of the peak (47,559) it reached only about two and half weeks ago on January 8th. But that’s still more than three times the number the city was averaging at the beginning of December. The rest of the country appears to be following a similar trajectory albeit a week or two behind cities in the Northeast.

*Labor Econ Versus the World*

The author is Bryan Caplan and the subtitle is Essays on the World’s Greatest Market.  It is a collection of his best blog posts on labor markets over the last fifteen years or so.  A Bryan blog post from 2015 gives a good overview of much of the book, which you can read as pushback against a lot of doctrines held by other people, including the mainstream:

What are these “central tenets of our secular religion” and what’s wrong with them?

Tenet #1: The main reason today’s workers have a decent standard of living is that government passed a bunch of laws protecting them.

Critique: High worker productivity plus competition between employers is the real reason today’s workers have a decent standard of living.  In fact, “pro-worker” laws have dire negative side effects for workers, especially unemployment.

Tenet #2: Strict regulation of immigration, especially low-skilled immigration, prevents poverty and inequality.

Critique: Immigration restrictions massively increase the poverty and inequality of the world – and make the average American poorer in the process.  Specialization and trade are fountains of wealth, and immigration is just specialization and trade in labor.

Tenet #3: In the modern economy, nothing is more important than education.

Critique: After making obvious corrections for pre-existing ability, completion probability, and such, the return to education is pretty good for strong students, but mediocre or worse for weak students.

Tenet #4: The modern welfare state strikes a wise balance between compassion and efficiency.

Critique: The welfare state primarily helps the old, not the poor – and 19th-century open immigration did far more for the absolutely poor than the welfare state ever has.

Tenet #5: Increasing education levels is good for society.

Critique: Education is mostly signaling; increasing education is a recipe for credential inflation, not prosperity.

Tenet #6: Racial and gender discrimination remains a serious problem, and without government regulation, would still be rampant.

Critique: Unless government requires discrimination, market forces make it a marginal issue at most.  Large group differences persist because groups differ largely in productivity.

Tenet #7: Men have treated women poorly throughout history, and it’s only thanks to feminism that anything’s improved.

Critique: While women in the pre-modern era lived hard lives, so did men.  The mating market led to poor outcomes for women because men had very little to offer.   Economic growth plus competition in labor and mating markets, not feminism, is the main reason women’s lives improved.

Tenet #8: Overpopulation is a terrible social problem.

Critique: The positive externalities of population – especially idea externalities – far outweigh the negative.  Reducing population to help the environment is using a sword to kill a mosquito.

Yes, I’m well-aware that most labor economics classes either neglect these points, or strive for “balance.”  But as far as I’m concerned, most labor economists just aren’t doing their job.  Their lingering faith in our society’s secular religion clouds their judgment – and prevents them from enlightening their students and laying the groundwork for a better future.

I will say this: Labor Econ Versus the World, while not written as a book per se, still is the best free market book on labor economics I know of.  And it is very reasonably priced.  I agree with much of what is in this book, but by no means all of it.  I’ll consider my differences with it in a separate blog post, to come tomorrow.

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The Challenger Map Re-Emerges; Fundraising Campaign Under Way

The iconic Challenger map—a 26×24-metre exaggerated relief map of British Columbia made of nearly a million pieces of jigsaw-cut plywood, is now on display at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame as part of an exhibition on the early days of the Pacific National Exhibition, where the map was on display between 1954 and 1997. This is only for a few months; its appearance part of a fundraising campaign to restore the map.

Previously: Challenger Map Gets Reprieve; Challenger Map Update; Another Challenger Map Update; Challenger Map Back on Display, Sort Of.

North of Nowhere: The Osher’s Fantasy Map Exhibition

The Osher Map Library’s new exhibition, North of Nowhere, West of the Moon: Myth, Fiction, and Fantasy in Maps, opened on Saturday.

North of Nowhere title cardInspired by our recent acquisition of Bernard Sleigh’s six-foot long “An Ancient Mappe of Fairyland, Newly Discovered and Set Forth,” (1918) we have selected thematic maps, books, and ephemera from our collections that reflect whimsy and visionary thinking. This exhibit invites visitors to ponder the ways in which myth, fantasy, and fiction have, for centuries, provided both an escape into alternate worlds in times of great strife, as well as an opportunity to create alternate worlds and imagine new realities.”

Runs until May 30th; free admission with timed ticket. The digital version won’t be online until February (I’ll post an update then, because this is very much relevant to my interests), but in the meantime the Library is posting teasers on its Instagram account.

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Comments on Case-Shiller and FHFA House Price Increases

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: Case-Shiller National Index up 18.8% Year-over-year in November

Excerpt:
This graph below shows existing home months-of-supply (inverted, from the NAR) vs. the seasonally adjusted month-to-month price change in the Case-Shiller National Index (both since January 1999 through November 2021).

Case-Shiller MoM House Prices
There is a clear relationship, and this is no surprise (but interesting to graph).  If months-of-supply is high, prices decline. If months-of-supply is very low (like now), prices rise quickly.

In November, the months-of-supply was at 2.1 months, and the Case-Shiller National Index (SA) increased 1.14% month-over-month.  The black arrow points to the November 2021 dot. In the December existing home sales report, the NAR reported months-of-supply decreased to a record low 1.8 months in December.

We are seeing the expected deceleration in house price growth, and this trend will probably continue for at least a few more months. My sense is the Case-Shiller National annual growth rate of 19.99% in August was probably the peak YoY growth rate, however, since the normal level of inventory is probably in the 4 to 6 months range - we’d have to see a significant increase in inventory to sharply slow price increases, and that is why I’m focused on inventory!emphasis added
There is much more in the article. You can subscribe at https://calculatedrisk.substack.com/

An AI Makes Breakfast

Janelle Shane trained an AI on a few breakfast cereal names and it came up with some cool new cereal concepts on its own.

Ai Cereals

I mean, I would go to town on some Orb Crumpets. And don’t these sound delicious?!

Original Cool Ranch Cheese and Dried Cranberry Oatmeal — all the wholesome, cheesy oatmeal with a choice of mild, sweet or salty!

Ingredis Fiberwaste Cream Cheese Cheerios — kids grab a box and put them in their mouths, making fun flavors taste even better !!! !!! !!! !!!

Fibrewaste is probably an element in many American grocery items, so kudos for this brave truth in advertising on the part of our robot friend. (via waxy)

Tags: artificial intelligence   food   Janelle Shane

Case-Shiller: National House Price Index increased 18.8% year-over-year in November

S&P/Case-Shiller released the monthly Home Price Indices for November ("November" is a 3-month average of September, October and November prices).

This release includes prices for 20 individual cities, two composite indices (for 10 cities and 20 cities) and the monthly National index.

From S&P: S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Index Reports 18.8% Annual Home Price Gain in November
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported an 18.8% annual gain in November, down from 19.0% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 16.8%, down from 17.2% in the previous month. The 20- City Composite posted an 18.3% year-over-year gain, down from 18.5% in the previous month.

Phoenix, Tampa, and Miami reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in November. Phoenix led the way with a 32.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Tampa with a 29.0% increase and Miami with a 26.6% increase. Eleven of the 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending November 2021 versus the year ending October 2021.
...
Before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a 0.9% month-over-month increase in November, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted increases of 0.9% and 1.0%, respectively.

After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 1.1%, and the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted increases of 1.1% and 1.2%, respectively.

In November, 19 of the 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustments while all 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustments.

For the past several months, home prices have been rising at a very high, but decelerating, rate. That trend continued in November 2021,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P DJI. “The National Composite Index rose 18.8% from year-ago levels, and the 10- and 20-City Composites gained 16.8% and 18.3%, respectively. In all three cases, November’s gains were less than October’s. Despite this deceleration, it’s important to remember that November’s 18.8% gain was the sixth-highest reading in the 34 years covered by our data (the top five were the months immediately preceding November).
emphasis added
Case-Shiller House Prices Indices Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the nominal seasonally adjusted Composite 10, Composite 20 and National indices (the Composite 20 was started in January 2000).

The Composite 10 index is up 1.1% in November (SA).

The Composite 20 index is up 1.2% (SA) in November.

The National index is 50% above the bubble peak (SA), and up 1.1% (SA) in November.  The National index is up 102% from the post-bubble low set in February 2012 (SA).

Case-Shiller House Prices Indices The second graph shows the year-over-year change in all three indices.

The Composite 10 SA is up 16.8% year-over-year.  The Composite 20 SA is up 18.3% year-over-year.

The National index SA is up 18.8% year-over-year.

Price increases were close to expectations.  I'll have more later.

Federal Trade Commission blocks Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne

Lockheed Martin’s proposed $4.4 billion acquisition of rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne has been blocked by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency announced Jan. 25. 

The post Federal Trade Commission blocks Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne appeared first on SpaceNews.

To my surprise and elation, the Webb Space Telescope is really going to work

The James Webb Space Telescope as it will appear in orbit.

The James Webb Space Telescope as it will appear in orbit. (credit: NASA)

I met John Grunsfeld outside a coffee shop in Houston, across the street from Johnson Space Center, a little more than five years ago.

He had only recently retired from NASA after a long and storied career. Over the course of nearly two decades, Grunsfeld had flown into space five times, the latter three of which were missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. A physicist by training, Grunsfeld had become affectionately known as a "Hubble Hugger" for his work on the venerable instrument in space.

He had then left the astronaut corps and gone on to lead NASA's science missions as associate administrator of the agency's science directorate. When we met late in the fall of 2016, Grunsfeld had just returned to private life. Now that he could speak more freely, I wanted to know what Grunsfeld really thought about the space agency's science priorities. He was in Houston for his annual astronaut physical, and we enjoyed the pleasant late November sunshine as cars zipped by on NASA Road 1.

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Multiple offer mechanisms in school choice, when information gathering is costly

 When it's costly to gather information needed to inform yourself about your own preferences, having a guaranteed offer in hand may justify the effort to gather necessary information.  Here's a paper that considers that as a first order issue:

The Case for Dynamic Multi-offer Mechanisms, by Julien Grenet YingHua He Dorothea Kübler

January 2022, (Forthcoming: The Journal of Political Economy)

Abstract: We document quasi-experimental evidence against the common assumption in the matching literature that agents have full information on their own preferences. In Germany’s university admissions, the first stages of the Gale-Shapley algorithm are implemented in real time, allowing for multiple offers per student. We demonstrate that non-exploding early offers are accepted more often than later offers, despite not being more desirable. These results, together with survey evidence and a theoretical model, are consistent with students’ costly discovery of preferences. A novel dynamic multi-offer mechanism that batches early offers improves matching efficiency by informing students of offer availability before preference discovery.


Is Trump’s Grip Loosening?

Our most consistent failure of perception is the tendency to project the realities or trends of the present indefinitely out into the future — like with ex-President Trump. Most of us assume that the 2024 GOP nomination is Trump’s for the taking if he decides to run and that he will run. That’s still the best assumption and it’s my assumption. But over recent weeks and with a burst of commentary in recent days it’s no longer the only assumption. There are at least some cracks — seeming cracks? — in Trump’s hold and they center for now on Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

There was this Times article about the DeSantis-Trump quasi-feud, this Michelle Cottle piece about Ann Coulter egging it on, and this report from Amy Walter of The Cook Report. The most interesting prism for this is Walter’s piece since it captures an essential reality: This isn’t any fatigue with Trumpism. It’s not a retreat from the illegality or the ideology. The Republican voters who seem newly ambivalent about third Trump presidential campaign are themselves big advocates of Trumpism. Indeed they’re big fans of Trump himself. What she finds is more a general fatigue with the drama or a sense that maybe it’s time for someone new — even if it’s someone who is new but entirely in the Trumpist mold. They would support Trump and they continue to take his lead on down-ballot endorsements. They’re just not sure about a 2024 run. Specifically some fear that he’s just too tainted by his first term to win a national election.

It’s worth being skeptical about how much Republican wishful thinking is bound up in these murmurs. There is a kind of along-for-the-ride Republican who is particularly open to this kind of chatter. They don’t oppose Trump. Certainly not openly. But they’re always the most game for any sign that his iron rule may be loosening. For these folks, it’s not about ideology, usually. It’s not even about antics and drama. It’s just that if you’re a Republican politico, Trump makes things boring since he’s the only game in town. Choosing candidates, building money operations, going to work for candidates — this is the stuff professional Republicans do and they like doing it. But that gets boring or frustrating as long as everything and anything only happens or works based on Trump’s whim.

Two points are worth noting here. The first is that to the extent DeSantis is challenging Trump he’s doing so from the right and specifically the Trumpist right. DeSantis most cutting recent criticism toward Trump was that he was too pro-lockdown in the early months of 2020.

The second point is more essential. In a crime family the boss is either boss or dead. Leadership is total but it’s brittle. We haven’t seen anyone challenge Trump and survive it politically. Mitt Romney is the possible exception that proves the rule. The members of Congress who’ve done so have all been run out of politics. Trump chortles every time a member who voted for his second impeachment announces he won’t run for reelection. Trump’s whole style of leadership can’t brook a true challenge. By which I mean one where a significant part of the party, even if not a majority, mobilizes against him. Even an unsuccessful challenger represents a rival power base within the party if they’re not crushed. It would seem beneath him to have to fight for control of the GOP. That’s how strongmanism works. Given Trump’s fear of a real fight, if he sees one on the horizon there’s a good chance he’ll choose not to run at all.

Insects take flight

Insects take flight | Aeon Videos

Watch how praying mantises, beetles and weevils become airborne, shown at a speed slow enough for the human eye to appreciate

- by Aeon Video

Watch at Aeon

Those born later

Those born later | Aeon Essays

In 1985 West Germany’s president gave an unflinching speech. It helped a new generation to face the Nazi past honestly

- by Helmut Walser Smith

Read at Aeon

A review of the ASAP review of NASA

Predictably, reports by committees read like a meeting with a few people speaking all at once. Why say something simply when saying it five ways keeps every contributor happy their suggested sentence remained intact? Yet even with this expectation going in, this year’s NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) report is a refreshing read, saying … Continue reading A review of the ASAP review of NASA

JWST arrives at final orbit

JWST

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope arrived at its final destination 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth Jan. 24, wrapping up a nearly flawless month since its launch.

The post JWST arrives at final orbit appeared first on SpaceNews.

“But are you short the market?”

“But are you short the market?” That is my favorite rejoinder to expressions of radical pessimism. It came to mind recently when I read an opinion piece suggesting that “the United States as we know it could come apart at the seams.”

…Besides, shorting the market does not have to be impossibly risky. Just buy some unleveraged market puts each year until that position pays off. That’s not a great investment tactic for most people, but it makes sense for diehard pessimists. Are they even asking around about how to do this, the way you might ask for recommendations for a good restaurant or a masseuse?

I do have friends and acquaintances who work in finance who short particular assets. If they short the entire market, it might be in frothy times — when things seem good and indeed are good, albeit not as good as sky-high prices indicate. That trading tactic, whether prudent or not, is hardly an indicator of mega-pessimism.

There are committed pessimists in the world. Argentina, for instance, is full of pessimists about the Argentinian economy. Typically they have dollar-based bank accounts abroad, which take time and trouble to set up. So there are ways of expressing true pessimism, if you mean it.

Another curious response I hear from pessimists is that they aren’t short the market because the death of democracy in the U.S., or the birth of fascism, isn’t going to be bad for the stock market. That is at least a consistent view — but it is wrong and oddly anti-democratic.

I for one think that America’s biggest and best companies will do better in an era of stability, freedom and economic growth. Fascism is too terrible to succeed for very long.

That is from my latest Bloomberg column, I conclude that very few Americans are truly pessimistic.

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Does crypto add to the money supply?

That is a reader request from Jerry Kate:

Is crypto effectively adding to M2 or M3 money supply and hence inflationary (outside the control and models of central banks), or is the velocity of crypto so low that it acts (like stocks) as a store of value having no impact on inflation? Will the answer to the prior question change if the market cap of crypto doubles or if crypto is tweaked to add velocity, or incorporated into the banking system to generate multiplier effects? Should central banks be worried?

I think you could ask this question of monetary economists, and get “confirmed” answers, yet the answers would disagree with each other.  My views are as follows:

1. If crypto prices are bubbles, they will encourage more spending and thus they would be inflationary, though only mildly so.  And that process could not continue for very long.  In the old school “Gurley and Shaw” sense, crypto is a kind of outside money and net wealth, and so spending will rise.

2. Alternatively, let’s say crypto assets have use cases that justify the current prices, but those use cases are not yet actively in use at this moment.  The crypto assets are then mildly inflationary now, but an offsetting deflationary impetus will kick in once those use cases arrive and lower the prices of goods and services in the marketplace.

3. Or, let’s say crypto prices are not bubbly, and are justified by current uses.  You then have a more or less offsetting boost in both aggregate demand and aggregate supply.

4. An additional question is whether the velocity of (traditional) money is higher or lower in the crypto sector.  I don’t know the answer to that question.  It is a possible effect, though probably not a major one.  If crypto soaks up money in a kind of “segregated from the real economy” shell game, it can be mildly deflationary.

5. Jerry also asks about “incorporating crypto into the banking system.”  That could mean a number of things.  Under one scenario, stable coins are told to become banks and then they are regulated like banks.  It would then be like having more money market funds, and that could be broadly inflationary on a modest, one-time basis, though of course you would have to compare the effects of those money market funds to the “wild west crypto effects” they were displacing.

Any other views or scenarios to consider?  Overall I don’t see this as a significant effect in quantitative terms, but it is nonetheless worth thinking through the logic of the question.

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Interview: Hal Brands, international relations professor and author

International relations are shaping up to be one of the key economic and financial risks in the years going forward. With tensions heating up with Russia over Ukraine and with China over Taiwan, the terrifying specter of great-power conflict once more looms over the world. We econ bloggers would love to be able to ignore the threat of war and conflict, but we can’t. So since I’m not an expert in this area, I’ve decided to interview a few people who are. And where better to start than my once-and-future Bloomberg Opinion colleague, Hal Brands?

In fact, Hal does much more than just write for Bloomberg. His main job is in academia; he’s the Henry Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS. He’s also the author of the new book, The Twilight Struggle: What the Cold War Teaches Us About Great-Power Rivalry Today. And that’s why I thought he would be the perfect person to ask about parallels between the Cold War and today’s great-power tensions.

In the interview that follows, I ask Hal about those parallels, about U.S.-China policy in general, and about whether the U.S. can afford to deter both Russia and China at the same time. We also discuss the economic and trade aspect of great-power competition. Hal generally gives good marks to the Biden administration on its approach toward China, and offers a few suggestions for improvement.


N.S.: You've been writing a lot about tensions in Asia, and you've just come out with a new book about the lessons of the Cold War. Would you say it's fair to label the current tensions with China as "Cold War 2"?

H.B.: The US-China rivalry isn't the Cold War, but it is a Cold War. The original Cold War happened in a specific time, place, and context--we live in a very different world today. But the U.S.-China Cold War is a struggle over the future of world order, one in which clashing geopolitical interests and clashing ideological values play a key role--as was the case with the U.S.-Soviet Cold War. And this cold war, like that one, features sharp, dangerous competition in the shadow of hot war. Add in the fact that the U.S.-Soviet Cold War is America's only prior experience with long-term geopolitical competition—a rivalry that plays out over years or even decades—and we really have to study the first cold war to understand what is happening and how we can succeed today.

N.S.: In Cold War 1, we used strong nuclear deterrence along with a strong conventional military posture. Nowadays, some people -- notably the folks at the Quincy Institute -- are urging us to adopt a more conciliatory tone toward China, and to avoid the kind of strong deterrence strategies we used in the first Cold War. Which should we do, and why? 

H.B: Deterrence was perhaps the most terrible, and essential, art of competition during the Cold War. Our strategy hinged on lining up a global network of allies to contain the Soviet Union. But we had to be able to defend those allies in a crisis, and since we didn't have enough conventional military power to deter Soviet aggression everywhere along the East-West divide, we had to back up our conventional forces with threats of nuclear escalation. Our whole approach to the Cold War basically involved threatening to start a nuclear war to avoid losing a conventional one.

Today, I think reasonable people can argue about where, exactly, to draw the line against Chinese expansion in the Western Pacific or elsewhere, and what sort of risks (nuclear or otherwise) the U.S. should be willing to run to defend its allies. But anyone who doesn't think that Xi Jinping is determined to establish a Chinese sphere of influence in East Asia--which means pushing the U.S. out of the region--hasn't been paying attention. And anyone who doesn't think that he may be willing to use force--against Taiwan or elsewhere--to achieve that goal is living in a dream world. Don't get me wrong: A major war in the Western Pacific would be awful--something we absolutely should try to avoid. But avoiding that sort of conflict will probably require a strong deterrence posture so that Xi doesn't think that aggression might be worth the price. 

N.S.: As I understand it, the U.S. currently has a so-called "hub-and-spoke" alliance system in Asia, in which the U.S. individually maintains bilateral alliances with various countries that aren't allied with each other. Should we try to change that by moving to a more NATO-style multilateral alliance? In addition, some of the potential partners we'd need to balance China, like India or Vietnam, aren't official U.S. allies. Should we try to formalize those alliances? Do loose quasi-alliance groupings like the Quad have any hope of becoming something like an Asian equivalent of NATO?

H.B.: An Asian NATO would be great if we could get it, because the strongest deterrent to China using force against Taiwan or some other important country is the fear that it would have to fight a huge coalition of countries that would come rushing to the defense. But we probably can't get it, just because the geography of maritime Asia is so different from the geography of Europe. And some of the countries we need to balance Chinese power--you mention India and Vietnam--are interested in American support but not in formal alliances. 

So for now, we have to make do with the next best thing: A network of overlapping, mutually reinforcing alliances and partnerships that serve to thicken and reinforce the barriers to aggression. The Quad is part of that; AUKUS helps; the Japan-Australia defense cooperation act signed recently is a good sign. It's great when six or seven nations get together in military exercises, as happened in the Philippine Sea in October, or when the U.S. and Japan subtly advertise (mostly through media leaks) their plans to cooperate militarily in the defense of Taiwan. Perhaps one day we'll get to a more formal, multilateral organization for collective defense in the region, but for now we need a lot of little things that add up to the threat of a very big, multilateral response if China uses force.

N.S.: How should economic relationships be part of that effort? Along with many others, I was dismayed to see the U.S. withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017. That treaty had its flaws, but it seemed like the U.S.' best hope for drawing Asian economies closer to itself and away from China's sphere of influence. Now, the biggest regional trade pact in Asia is the China-centered Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which just went into effect. Does this present a danger to our efforts to balance China in the region, and if so, is there still time to salvage things?

H.B.: The clock is definitely ticking. There is no winning U.S. strategy toward China that doesn't include a stronger effort to put America at the center of the economic future of Asia. And while the U.S. has some inherent strengths in that regard (hugely attractive consumer market, deep capital markets, etc.), the situation could actually get worse, because China--in addition to doing RCEP--has now applied to join CPTPP, which is essentially the rump trade agreement that emerged after Washington bailed on TPP. 

If China gets in, it will do its normal thing where it exploits the benefits of economic integration while never really playing by the rules it signed up to. And it will become even more deeply enmeshed with the countries America needs to hold on its side. The Australians and Japanese will be able to keep China out for a while, but not forever, because Beijing will buy off and bully other members to isolate its opposition. The U.S. doesn't really have a play other than getting back into CPTPP: The Biden administration knows this, and the politics aren't impossible. The problem is that it would take a major investment of presidential political capital to make this happen, and so far Biden hasn't shown much willingness to make that investment.

N.S.: Gotcha. Let's talk about the Biden administration, actually. A lot of people thought, during the primary campaign, that Biden would be the presidential candidate most favorably disposed toward China. But in office, he's proven very hawkish -- keeping Trump's tariffs in place, pressing China strongly on human rights, and even declaring that the U.S. would defend Taiwan (before subordinates sort of halfway walked his comments back). What explains Biden's unexpectedly hard line toward China?

H.B.: I think Biden changed because China changed--and because American politics changed, as well. You probably recall that Biden got pilloried during the primaries for scoffing at the idea that China is a serious competitor for the U.S.. That was a very Obama-era sentiment, and the sentiment underlying it was just impossible to sustain.

China had, by 2020, done a lot of things that made its challenge impossible to deny--destroying "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong, undertaking one of the largest peacetime military buildups in history, putting increasing pressure on Taiwan and U.S. allies in Asia, trying to dominate the high ground of tech innovation, and so on. Its leaders then lied relentlessly about COVID while exploiting the chaos it created to become more assertive on several fronts at once. 

Partially as a result, American domestic opinion soured dramatically on China--look at the dropoff in positive views of China over the past few years, especially since 2019. There is now unmistakable evidence that China poses a severe threat to the status quo not just in Asia but around the world. And that has created a new political climate in the United States that no president can ignore.

N.S.: I see. But let's talk a bit about the dissenters from the new policy consensus, because there are some. The Quincy Institute, and some progressive groups, have urged the U.S. to take a softer line toward China. Do they have a point at all? Is America being too aggressive, or making choices that unnecessarily raise the risk of a new Cold War?

H.B.: It's a fair question, and there are things that the U.S. could do that might seem tough but would actually be counterproductive. Wholesale economic decoupling won't work; making a formal defense commitment to Taiwan without having the capabilities to defend it in a crisis might just provoke China. But in general, it is premature to start easing off the gas pedal when it comes to competition with China, because we've only recently begun to take the challenge seriously. The United States had to put containment in place during the Cold War before it could get to negotiation, de-escalation, and detente. Something similar will be necessary today.

N.S.: So are you basically saying that our choice isn't between a Cold War and peaceful coexistence, but between a Cold War and a hot war? That because of China's actions and attitudes, peaceful coexistence is not possible until and unless we shore up our defenses and draw red lines that China's hawks are afraid to cross?

H.B.: That's about right. Whether we like it or not, China is waging a cold war against us. And Xi Jinping will be tempted, in the years to come, to use force to achieve long-sought objectives like grabbing Taiwan or putting one of its neighbors--India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan--in its place. The United States will need to compete more strenuously and effectively just to hold its own; it will have to prepare more seriously for a hot war to prevent one from happening. Remember: It wasn't as though there was some principled agreement between Moscow and Washington to conduct a cold war in 1947. One of the reasons that the West was eventually able to win a cold war was that it never stopped trying to deter a hot war. That is a very depressing parallel, but we should probably be thinking in similar terms today.

N.S.: One question I have is, will there be buy-in from the American public for a Cold War style confrontation? Americans remember quite vividly how the Bush administration lied about WMDs in Iraq and pushed us into a pointless and horribly destructive war. On the other hand, negative opinions of China are running quite high, and a recent poll showed that for the first time, a majority of Americans support using military force to defend Taiwan. So where do you see public opinion going on this issue?

Also, a follow-up question here. Some people are worried that a Cold War style confrontation with China will result in a racist backlash against Asian people in the U.S. That seems plausible given the recent wave of anti-Asian attacks, which seems to have been exacerbated by Trump's "China virus" language in 2020. And of course the memory of how the U.S. treated Japanese Americans during World War 2 looms large. What can we do at the policy level to ensure that there's no such backlash?

H.B.: Let's side aside Iraq for a moment: I think the idea that Bush lied is an overstatement, but that's a separate debate (and the war was indeed destructive and counterproductive). There are certainly the makings of a bipartisan consensus on China in the United States. COVID turned Americans against China to a degree that Beijing building bases in the South China Sea never did: It showed how the CCP's cynicism and irresponsibility could cause concrete harm to Americans and their livelihoods. There is bipartisan support in Congress for measures to strengthen America's competitive posture. And, while we shouldn’t make too much of "would you want to defend X" sort of questions, Americans are clearly more concerned about the fate of Taiwan than they were before. For now, the consensus is still broader than it is deep--politicians want to compete with China, but not if it means doing something that would cause even a minor correction in the stock market--but I think this may change over time.

As for the racism issue, this is something that good leadership can help with. We didn't have a massive anti-Muslim backlash after 9/11, in part because Bush, whatever his other failings, modeled good behavior in that regard. And while the Cold War left some ugly political legacies--red-baiting and the like--it also led the United States to invest in domestic reform and rejuvenation. The breaking down of segregation, the creation of the world's best university system, the building of our interstate highway system, and other constructive measures were all rooted, at least partly, in the imperative of making America more attractive and competitive in the Cold War. So hopefully our leaders will treat competition with China not as a reason to bring out our worst impulses, but as an opportunity for America to become a better version of itself.

N.S.: Obviously a lot of people are paying attention to the system with Russia and Ukraine. Is it possible for the U.S. to wage a two-front Cold War here, deterring China in Asia and deterring Russia in Europe? If Russia and China are now de facto allies, is that a combination that overmatches the U.S.? Is there a collection of allies we could assemble that could match that coalition?

H.B.: It's a disadvantageous strategic situation--facing two rivals who both dislike us more than they dislike each other. But I'm not sure that we have much choice other than trying to deal with both challenges at once. 

Ideally, we'd like to peel the weaker rival (Russia) away from the stronger one (China)--an updated version of what we eventually did with the opening to China during the Cold War. But Putin has made clear, during this crisis, that his price just for stability in Eastern Europe--to say nothing of detente with the U.S. or cooperation vis-a-vis China--is the neutering of NATO and the abandonment of the eastern half of the alliance. Conciliating Russia, in other words, would require jettisoning interests that we have previously deemed as vital. 

The good news is that, even together, Russia and China can't overmatch the U.S. and its allies. Even a distracted U.S. plus NATO is still capable of competing with Russia; the U.S. plus its allies and partners in Asia has significantly more geopolitical heft than China. I don't want to make this sound easier than it is. But the balance of power still favors the democracies. 

N.S.: OK, time for the big question. Overall, what is the Biden administration getting right with regards to geopolitical great-power competition? And what are the most important things it's getting wrong?

H.B.: Biden has done a good job framing the competition with China: It is not just a geopolitical competition, but also an ideological competition between different models of government. There have also been some good moves in that competition--the AUKUS deal with London and Canberra, enhanced military planning and cooperation with Japan, progress on Huawei and semiconductor supply chains, and others. And not gratuitously trashing alliances is, sadly, an improvement as well. 

But I think the Biden team would admit that they have a long way to go and haven't made much progress on harder issues. They haven't put forward anything compelling to replace TPP. They have only begun to deal with the problem of U.S. investment in Chinese firms that are closely linked to the Chinese government and its predatory policies. They aren't moving quickly enough to shore up the balance of power in the Western Pacific. And they are learning, in real time, that the US has two great-power competitors rather than one. So it's fine to say that the U.S. is going to focus like a laser on the Indo-Pacific, but Vladimir Putin may not allow us that luxury. It all goes to a larger point: I think we're only beginning to realize how severe the overall global challenge we face really is.

N.S.: So if you were the Biden administration's top foreign policy advisor, what concrete recommendations would you make for improving policy in the areas of A) U.S. investment in China, and B) shoring up the balance of power in the Pacific?

H.B.: There should be much stricter curbs on outbound U.S. investment in firms that: a) are closely linked to the PLA; b) are complicit in China's human rights abuses or the construction of its surveillance state; or c) have engaged in intellectual property theft or otherwise violated American law. The Biden administration (following on some Trump-era initiatives) has made a start in this area, but only a start. On the balance of power in the Pacific, the Pentagon has some good initiatives in train to ensure we aren't overmatched in the medium-term. But as Michael Beckley and I have written elsewhere, we're not moving fast enough to deter Chinese aggression in the next 5-6 years. What we really need is to flood the region with anti-access/area denial capabilities--anti-ship missiles, sea mines, mobile air defenses, long-range artillery, and other small, relatively cheap things that can turn the Taiwan Strait into a death trap for an invasion fleet. The good news is that most of these capabilities already exist--we just need more of them, and we need more of them right now.


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Japan’s H3 rocket further delayed by engine woes

After spending most of 2020 and all of 2021 struggling with the H3 rocket’s main engine, JAXA says H-2A’s successor will not be ready to launch by the end of March as previously hoped.

The post Japan’s H3 rocket further delayed by engine woes appeared first on SpaceNews.

Tuesday: Case-Shiller House Prices

Tuesday:
• At 9:00 AM ET, FHFA House Price Index for November. This was originally a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index.

• Also, at 9:00 AM, S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for November. The consensus is for a 18.0% year-over-year increase in the Comp 20 index.

• At 10:00 AM, Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for January.

• Also, at 10:00 AM, State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) for December 2021

On COVID (focus on hospitalizations and deaths):

COVID Metrics
 TodayWeek
Ago
Goal
Percent fully Vaccinated63.4%---≥70.0%1
Fully Vaccinated (millions)210.5---≥2321
New Cases per Day3663,908788,527≤5,0002
Hospitalized3136,135141,565≤3,0002
Deaths per Day3🚩1,9361,886≤502
1 Minimum to achieve "herd immunity" (estimated between 70% and 85%).
2my goals to stop daily posts,
37-day average for Cases, Currently Hospitalized, and Deaths
🚩 Increasing 7-day average week-over-week for Cases, Hospitalized, and Deaths
✅ Goal met.

COVID-19 Positive Tests per DayClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the daily (columns) and 7-day average (line) of positive tests reported.

New cases are now declining.

Unfortunately, deaths are still rising, but well below the previous 7-day average record of 3,421 in January 2021.

The reasons behind the current stockmarket turmoil

From Fed tightening to rising wage costs, investors see gloomy prospects ahead

The fastest way to read a CSV in Pandas

You have a large CSV, you’re going to be reading it in to Pandas—but every time you load it, you have to wait for the CSV to load. And that slows down your development feedback loop, and might meaningfully slows down your production processing.

But it’s faster to read the data in faster. Let’s see how.

In this article we’ll cover:

  1. Pandas’ default CSV reading.
  2. The faster, more parallel CSV reader introduced in v1.4.
  3. A different approach that can make things even faster.
Read more...

Video: Comet Leonard over One Hour

Which direction is this comet heading? Which direction is this comet heading?


RUAG Space enters AI partnership for satellite supercomputer

Switzerland’s RUAG Space said Jan. 24 it is teaming up with a software provider to run artificial intelligence solutions on its Lynx, which it says is the most powerful commercially available onboard satellite computer.

The post RUAG Space enters AI partnership for satellite supercomputer appeared first on SpaceNews.