BRIEFLY NOTED: for 2021-04-07 We

Things that went whizzing by I want to be sure to remember...

One Video:

Authoritarian state surveillance capitalism: Barry NaughtonChina Creating a New Type of Economic System? <>:


Very Briefly Noted:

Share Grasping Reality Newsletter, by Brad DeLong


I say it is time for a 100% tax on all revenues received as dividends from or from the sale of stock of corporations that held initial public offerings on May 18, 2012:

Sarah Frier & Sarah KopitDoes Covid Vaccine Cause Infertility? Facebook Still Letting Fake News Go Viral: ‘At the heart of Facebook’s misinformation problems is the design of Facebook itself…. Facebook’s algorithm recommended groups to its users based on what people with similar interests tended to also like…. And so sers found communities, some of which propelled them deeper into misinformation rabbit holes…. At the same time, Facebook and Instagram also highlighted what it called “meaningful” conversations—posts that generated lots of comments very quickly. The change, meant to highlight pregnancy, engagement announcements, and other big life events, also boosted controversial, surprising, or scary content… anti-vaccine posts. Well-meaning people trying to debunk vaccine misinformation in the comments have instead helped it go viral by signaling to Facebook’s algorithm that it should push the posts into more people’s feeds…. Behind these claims, often, is a profit motive. The big names in the anti-vaccine movement, Bigtree and Kennedy among them, make money off speaking engagements, online webinars, or the sale of supplements….

Talk to doctors who’ve spent the last year in the Covid wards, and they’ll say they’re spending more and more time talking their patients out of something wildly untrue they read on Facebook…. At first Danielle Belardo thought… sharing science-based information would do the trick…. She already had a healthy Instagram following from posting about plant-based nutrition. At the beginning of the pandemic, she decided to use her platform to debunk false viral Covid–19 claims…. Belardo… no longer engages directly with lies, because that only calls further attention to them by the logic of Facebook and Instagram…. Efforts like Belardo’s and Marino’s have yet to reach Williams. The algorithms show people more of what they want to see. “To be completely honest with you, I haven’t seen doctors recommending the shot,” Williams says. And even if she did, she says she wouldn’t believe them.

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Duncan BlackThey’re Bad People, Brent: ‘Who is the audience for things like, “Gail Collins and Bret Stephens shoot the s—.” Not even picking on them, specifically, though Bret is a disgusting clown even by the low standards of the cosnrevative movement, but genuinely confused that in the year of our Gritty, 2021, there’s still a market for this genre of things…. I think we’re long past the era when “we” pretended that well-meaning people on Both Sides want basically the same things, they just disagree about how to get there. It isn’t an argument about the glorious impact on the economy of low tax rates, or how Social Security Privatization will be BETTER for your retirement. It’s about stealing all the money from poor people and giving it to rich people, or maybe not doing that. And that’s before we get to the explicit bigotry…

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Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermixNot Everything Needs a ‘Well, Actually’: ‘Not Everything Needs a ‘Pardon my commitment to “data” and “science” if I don’t think that two studies of questionable applicability tell me much of anything about the effects of the Georgia law. This is, in general, my gripe about data journalism: there’s just not enough good data to draw evidence-based conclusions, so it devolves into speculative punditry with a patina of scientific respectability…. Second, some things are beyond the need to do a sketchy “well actually” analysis piece, and a fundamental right like voting is a great example of one of those things. “Well, actually, we found two studies of people who had their little toes amputated and they walk just fine” is not a justification for a program of toe amputation. Voting is a right, full stop, and people’s right to do it should not be unreasonably infringed. Six hour lines with no water is an unreasonable infringement. We don’t need to go further than that, and we certainly don’t need a privileged white dude who grew up in a Seattle suburb and moved to DC after private college to push out a “well, actually” piece about a Jim Crow revival… LINK: <>

EconomistChina Is Betting That the West Is in Irreversible Decline: ‘CIts gaze fixed on the prize of becoming rich and strong, China has spent the past 40 years as a risk-averse bully. Quick to inflict pain on smaller powers, it has been more cautious around any country capable of punching back. Recently, however, China’s risk calculations have seemed to change…. China’s foreign ministry declares that horrors such as the Atlantic slave trade, colonialism and the Holocaust, as well as the deaths of so many Americans and Europeans from covid–19, should make Western governments ashamed to question China’s record on human rights. Most recently Chinese diplomats and propagandists have denounced as “lies and disinformation” reports that coerced labour is used to pick or process cotton in Xinjiang. They have praised fellow citizens for boycotting foreign brands that decline to use cotton from that region. Still others have sought to prove their zeal by hurling Maoist-era abuse. A Chinese consul-general tweeted that Canada’s prime minister was “a running dog of the US”…. Chinese leaders, if their own words and writings are any guide, think that assertiveness is rational…. China is increasingly sure that America is in long-term, irreversible decline…. China’s rulers are majoritarians. Their hold on power involves convincing most citizens that prosperity, security and national strength require iron-fisted, one-party rule…. China’s rulers are duly preparing for a protracted struggle. The risks are clear, both for China and the West. LINK: <>

Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, Toby R. Ault, Carlos M. Carrillo, Robert G. Chambers & David B. LobellAnthropogenic Climate Change Has Slowed Global Agricultural Productivity Growth: ‘Agricultural research has fostered productivity growth, but the historical influence of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) on that growth has not been quantified. We develop a robust econometric model of weather effects on global agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) and combine this model with counterfactual climate scenarios to evaluate impacts of past climate trends on TFP. Our baseline model indicates that ACC has reduced global agricultural TFP by about 21% since 1961, a slowdown that is equivalent to losing the last 7 years of productivity growth. The effect is substantially more severe (a reduction of ~26–34%) in warmer regions such as Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. We also find that global agriculture has grown more vulnerable to ongoing climate change…

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Heather Cox RichardsonMarch 31, 2021: ‘President Joe Biden… unveiled a new $2 trillion infrastructure proposal titled The American Jobs Plan. The statement introducing the plan notes that the United States currently ranks 13th in the world for the quality of our infrastructure, and that our public domestic investment as a share of the economy has fallen more than 40% since the 1960s. It calls attention to the fact that our roads and bridges are crumbling and that our electrical grid keeps failing. Too few people have access to affordable housing or to the Internet, while our infrastructure for caregiving—a vital part of our lives—is fragile, it says. It promises to unify and mobilize the country to address climate change and the rise of an autocratic China…. To pay for the investment in the country, Biden is proposing an accompanying tax plan, the Made in America Tax Plan, to raise taxes on corporations…

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