Tuesday, November 03, 2020

US Election Civil War Ringing on Melbourne Cup

In the midst of a historic pandemic, economic hardship, and a reckoning with racism, this November, Americans will decide who will lead the nation for the next four years: President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden. Before the votes are cast, as it has for every election since 1988, PBS Frontline will present Biden V Trump: The Choice 2020 - its critically acclaimed election year special, offering interwoven investigative biographies of both major-party candidates. Through revealing interviews with those who know Trump and Biden best, this film will offer a deeply reported narrative arc of both candidates’ lives.

Biden V Trump: The Choice 2020 

Virtue Signaling Over Corpses Craig Murray

Robert Fisk: Celebrated Middle East correspondent of The Independent dies aged 74 Independent

As the World Watches US Election, the Appeal of America is Diminished

Thoughtful take on how the rest of the world percevies US flaws after 4 years of Trump; even the Biden’s election is unlikely to reverse this.

Other awful years in history

THERE'S NOTHING NEW: Here’s a look at some of the other thoroughly difficult years in human history – and how we made it to the other side.


Jazz And The Pondering Of Modernism

Jazz has always been a kind of extroverted modernism, and always allowed the atonality and experimentation of introverted modernism (see Coltrane’s later works). However, it has always rejected perverse modernism. That has much to do with religion and the Christianity of the black churches. – First Things

Record rain and flash flooding lash Australia’s east coast – video Guardian

The Explosive Problem of ‘Zombie’ Batteries BBC

Depressive symptoms increased from before to during COVID-19 and life satisfaction decreased. Individuals with higher education experienced a greater increase in depressive symptoms and a greater decrease in life satisfaction from before to during COVID-19 in comparison to those with lower education. Supplemental analysis illustrates that income had a curvilinear relationship with changes in well-being, such that individuals at the highest levels of income experienced a greater decrease in life satisfaction from before to during COVID-19 than individuals with lower levels of income.

Here is the full research paper, by Connie R. Wanberg et.al., with other interesting results including on causal mechanisms.  

Data on the oldest companies in the world.  Often small, and related to food and/or hospitality.  Often Japanese

 “The Trans-Universal Zombie Church of the Blissful Ringing is a religion that emerged in the context of a period of political uprising in Slovenia in 2012–13 and later consolidated into a church that now claims 12,000 members.

 “We find that COVID-19 has likely become the leading cause of death (surpassing unintentional overdoses) among young adults aged 25-44 in some areas of the United States during substantial COVID-19 outbreaks.

 While America has been dithering, good (but not surprising) news on AstraZeneca.  The vaccine may come to UK hospitals by November

a16z podcast on textiles, with Virginia Postrel and Sonal Chokshi

12-minute nasal swab test coming to the UK

Data on the French second 

Escaped cloned female mutant crayfish take over Belgian cemetery

Matthew Aucoin on Boulez

The German tilt-and-turn window.  And Germany moves to improve ventilation

Krugman short paper on the Trump trade war(analytical, not polemic)

Slovakia is trying to test everyone, and quickly(WSJ)


In his recent essay “Duty, the Soul of Beauty: Henry James on the Beautiful Life” (Wiseblood), R.R. Reno says James “invites his readers into a different dream, an attractive vision of life penetrated by moral authority.”