Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday Night Links

  • Once you're convinced — as I now am — that covid was not only created in a lab, but that its release and everything that followed was done on purpose, (see my pinned megathread if you like) the implications of the furin site are upsetting to consider. Whether it was inserted for that very purpose or only in the course of moving it from an animal model to humanized cells, in the end the virus couldn't be something whose treatment was already solved. It wouldn't have made it out the door that way, I'm now convinced. That's the purpose covid's furin cleavage site ended up serving. It, and its concealment, and then the silence around its significance from those most familiar with it, were necessary parts of everything that has happened in the past year. In the final analysis the addition of the furin cleavage site allowed covid to do an endrun around the known SARS treatment. Without it covid would have been a flash in the pan, and somebody somewhere on Earth made covid like this, whatever they were thinking when they did it. [Linecook]
  • In the early days when covid was first being described (publicly) there was an unlucky omission from the papers. They glossed over the furin cleavage site. They didn't miss it, they mentioned that area of the genome specifically. Around this time- we're talking January to March of 2020- someone stole the french central pharmacy's supply of chloroquines. Just physically stole it- gone. But we had yet to discover, publicly, what was going to be different about treating covid. The furin cleavage site does something besides let covid jump cell types/species more easily. It's is also the reason covid doesn't respond to HCQ the way SARS did. With endosomal entry blocked covid can still get in another way, using its shiny new furin cleavage site. If you were a conspiratorial type you might say it's almost as if the virus heard about the CDC's 2005 Virology Journal paper and evolved with the knowledge of what medicines it might expect to encounter some day. Clearly the virus knew more than whoever stole the HCQ in France. [Linecook]
  • The furin cleavage site on covid's spike protein- which is already suspect for other reasons- includes two arginines next to each other, which it spells "CGG CGG." This is the only occurrence of that spelling across the entire genomes of all the coronaviruses that infect humans. On its own this doesn't really transform into meaning though. Covid has a highly unlikely bit of spelling in its furin site, so what? Like the insertion of furin cleavage sites, violating the spelling conventions of a virus is a common lab procedure. To improve infectivity in a target host species you can change parts of the virus to use the host's spelling conventions. CGG-CGG is unheard of for a coronavirus, but by a slim margin it's the most common human spelling for double arginine. This is one of the SARS gain of function experiments people have been doing since 2003, Daszak and Shi published on it in 2017. Plenty of others have used it too. [Linecook]
  • That there's zero daylight between covid being a lab escape and covid being intentional. After the first week even if they really did lose control of it by accident the people who already understood it intimately at the level of base pairs elected not to tell us what sites it was engineered to attach to, what routes it was dependent on, what they had seen of it in its most vulnerable moments down there all alone in the petri dish. When covid "started" for the rest of us they knew it better than anyone else will for years to come. And radio silence. If that isn't biological warfare what is? I'm not trying to make covid sound terrifying again, it's not this crazy hypervirus they told us it was. But biological warfare in the sense of terrorism, a weapon you're mostly meant to fear, but a weapon nonetheless. If covid was made in a lab, and the people who built it didn't tell us how it worked, well then what? That's intention. That's intention each morning for one year and two months. Functionally it really was cured in advance, and with that knowledge the ruling class didn't prevent this, they figured out which medicines to hide. [Linecook]
  • States that are locked down and in which residents stay home to collect welfare get way more of the $1.9 trillion than states in which people shrugged off COVID-19 and went to work. It is a huge misallocation of resources if you think about it. The places from which people moved will get $$. The places to which people moved (and therefore which need more roads, schools, etc.) will not get $$. [Phil G]
  • Can it make sense to move permanently in response to a temporary situation? COVID-19 will be gone soon, thanks to the vaccines, and we’ll be “back to normal”, right? My personal theory is that there is enough potential for the virus to evolve that people who want to be restricted will continue to seek restrictions going forward. I personally know quite a few people who, despite being vaccinated and/or having had actual Covid-19 (mild symptoms, but positive PCR tests) continue to be afraid to go out, wear masks even outdoors, etc. [PhilG]
  • San Francisco might end up as America’s most fearful and restricted place, while Nashville (where unemployment is just 4.4%) emerges with a newfound confidence. [Bloomberg]
  • The pandemic turned many sit-down restaurants into takeout specialists, making individual ketchup packets the primary condiment currency for both national chains and mom-and-pop restaurants. Packet prices are up 13% since January 2020, and their market share has exploded at the expense of tabletop bottles, according to restaurant-business platform Plate IQ. [WSJ]
  • The signs are everywhere that the pandemic is winding down. Even if the virus persists and the CDC keeps preaching doom, the pandemic will end for social reasons. There can be a social ending to pandemics while the biological risk still lurks. People just start to accept a certain risk and go on with their lives. That even happened during the 14th Century, when the Bubonic plague ravaged Europe. The Covid-19 pandemic may already have had a social ending in Florida, and it will end soon in the rest of the country because people were told vaccines would end it, and they planned to go back to normal after every adult who wants a vaccine can get one. [Bloomberg
  • The concept of long Covid has a highly unorthodox origin: online surveys produced by Body Politic, which launched in 2018 and describes itself atop its website’s homepage as “a queer feminist wellness collective merging the personal and the political.” In March 2020, the group’s co-founders created the Body Politic Covid-19 Support Group, and as part of their mission of “cultivating patient led research,” the organization coordinated a series of online surveys on persistent symptoms. Based on the results of these, Body Politic produced the first report on long Covid in May. [WSJ]
  • A return to the 1970s era, which I am not at all predicting, could make the dotcom bubble's utility pain potentially seem tame by comparison. My comfort level is therefore tied to the belief that rising inflation will be transitory and that long-term yields will begin to fall again at some point in the next few years. My expectations are low. Not trying to hit a home run here. I'd be perfectly happy walking to first base. This investment is mostly just a bond replacement in a TINA world, at least to me. Anything more than that is just a bonus. That said, there is a definite possibility of a substantial bonus, assuming the wheels don't fall off. [Stagflationary Mark]
  • Otherwise, you might be tempted to conclude that the world’s billionaires are just stupid—which might be true, but it can’t explain everything. [New Yorker]
  • Going to argue today that societies in which agriculture is performed collectively in and around nucleated villages act to domesticate human beings via the same biological pathway as in dogs and cats and is apparent in a similar shortening and broadening of their skulls. The second central point is that behavioral domestication is a result of an increased tolerance for stress and that people who were most thoroughly feudalized (most Slavs, Germans, French) have adapted by becoming harder, less fearful of people, and overall less eccentric. The cephalic index measures the length of the skull divided by its width. Values of about 75 or less are considered dolicocephalic or long headed (like Ridley Scott’s Alien). More than 81 is brachycephalic or broad headed like a bulldog. Populations vary from means of 70-90. The lowest index values are found in tropical populations like Africans or Australian aboriginals and their long, narrow heads seem to be an adaptation to dissipate heat related to their long limbs and fingers. The highest value seen in Siberians seem to have an opposite cause. [Uriah]
  • Maybe, I’m worried about all of the people who suddenly agree with me. Coinbase just issued financials and 56 million people have accounts. On one-hand, the growth of the network theoretically makes Bitcoin more valuable. On the other hand, no one is actually using Bitcoin for anything but speculating in Dollar terms. If 56 million (mostly Americans) have accounts, who’s left to still join in the Ponzi Scheme? Maybe, I’m worried that everyone seems convinced that this cycle follows the prior ones with a mania at the end for everyone to sell into. I myself believed that as recently as a few weeks ago. However, if everyone expects that, then maybe it will not happen. Maybe I’ve been around this game too long and know that when you have a massive IPO, one where insiders are cashing out like Coinbase, it tends to happen near the top. I can go on and on. Clearly something in my gut is uneasy. I really don’t have a strong reason why I’m selling. I just know that it’s been a stupefyingly great run, I don’t want to give it back and quite frankly, there are far more attractive things to own. [Kuppy]
  • This matter comes before the court on the parties’ Joint Status Report, which the court will construe as a motion by the plaintiffs for leave to file an amended complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the court will GRANT the motion and will grant the plaintiffs leave to file one final amended consolidated complaint. In its prior Order, the court found that it erroneously abstained from hearing the Shareholders’ claim for judicial dissolution in light of the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Deal v. Tugalo Gas Co. (11th Cir. Mar. 19, 2021). The court ordered the parties to submit a Joint Status Report and to include proposals for moving forward in light of Deal. [Oddball Stocks]
  • XXL: But it would be pretty big if we had a first Black president. That would be huge. DMX: I mean, I guess…. What, they gon’ give a dog a bone? There you go. Ooh, we have a Black president now. They should’ve done that shit a long time ago, we wouldn’t be in the fuckin’ position we in now. With world war coming up right now. They done fucked this shit up then give it to the Black people, “Here you take it. Take my mess.” XXL: Right, exactly. DMX: It’s all a fuckin’ setup. It’s all a setup. All fuckin’ bullshit. All bullshit. I don’t give a fuck about none of that. XXL: We could have a female president also, Hillary Clinton. DMX: I mean, either way it doesn’t matter. I don’t care. No one person is directly affected by which president, you know, so what does it matter. XXL: Yeah, but the country is. DMX: I guess. The president is a puppet anyway. The president don’t make no damn decisions. XXL: The president…they don’t have that much authority basically? DMX: Nah, never. XXL: But Bush pretty much... DMX: You think Bush is making fuckin’ decisions? XXL: He did, yeah, he fucked up the country. DMX: He act like he making decisions. He could barely speak! He could barely fuckin’ speak! Can’t be serious. He ain’t making no damn decisions. [XXL Mag]
  • Do we overuse reckoning? We have used the labels of a Mobile Reckoning, a Racial Reckoning, China’s Reckoning, Robinhood’s Reckoning, and (close to home!) a Reckoning for America’s Newsrooms. We reckon that we overuse this cliché. “Reckoning often implies a settlement, a finality—and many of the reckonings we are reckoning have anything but,” says Editor in Chief Matt Murray. “We need some reckoning reckoning,” he says. [WSJ]


Taylor Conant said...

"more attractive things to own"... for a short period of time before I rotate into something else.

This is not ownership.

Ownership is, for the most part, always buy and hold-- forever.

To be an "owner", you must buy and hold. You can't be "looking for something more attractive to own"-- what you own should be valuable and attractive enough. Why do the things you own keep fluctuating in value so much you want to let them go?

Buffett has gotten shit (from us and others) for his "buy and hold" mantra, when he clearly would've been better off selling some things now and then.

The reason it's cringe for Buffett to tout buy and hold... is because he also is adamant that he doesn't influence or effect the operations of what he owns. This is pure negligence of one of the key responsibilities of ownership-- to have influence. To put yourself into what you own. Buffett has a policy of not doing that. So it's super cringe for him to buy and hold forever.

Kuppy's a weird guy.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I agree with your buy and hold mindset. I only make investments that I intend to hold for a very long time, preferably all the way to maturity.

That said, I am always willing to keep looking for something else that I would prefer to own though. For example, I intend to hold utilities for many years. However, if the real yield of the 30-year TIPS hits 1% again, I’d be very tempted to defect to that. It would depend on how overvalued/undervalued the utilities seem to be at the time. I’m not suggesting that TIPS would necessarily perform better, but like Kuppy I value sleep. I sleep best with TIPS.

As for ownership, the phrases “as I mature as an investor” and “it is going to zero” don’t seem at all compatible to me. Even if it does technically meet the definition of investing (“to allocate money in the expectation of some benefit/return in the future“), it seems much more accurate to call it gambling (“take risky action in the hope of a desired result”). Buying something you think will ultimately be worthless with the hope of selling it to someone else at a profit is definitely taking a risky action. What’s riskier than relying on a greater fool?

Bitcoin has parabolas written all over it. Climbs parabolically. Crashes parabolically. If the intention was to design an unstable currency, it has been a complete success. It’s a gambler’s dream! A little something for everyone. Even the bystanders have to be at least somewhat amused by the drama. I know I am.