URLs du Jour


  • I must admit dismay at Gal Gadot's 'Imagine' cover. Going to the New York Post:

    Just call her Blunder Woman.

    Gal Gadot’s attempt to cheer up coronavirus isolationists with a celeb-studded cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” backfired after Twitter users wondered why they couldn’t send money instead.

    Some are evolution denialists, some think the Earth is flat. I, for one, refuse to believe the evidence in front of my own eyes that Ms Gadot is an airhead.

    Because, whoa, that smile.

  • Thomas McArdle at Issues & Insights notes another feature of the utopia envisioned by progressives: Mass Transit, The Pandemic Petri Dish. Bottom line:

    Just as the notorious public housing projects built for the poor in American cities as the wave of the future in the middle of the last century ended up being breeding grounds for violent crime and economic despair, the same approach of treating commuting human beings as cattle to be managed by their bureaucrat betters in authority above them is now proliferating a deadly imported pathogen that will transport death to the masses.

    The author goes through a lot of history and current affairs. Worthwhile reading.

  • And, as Randal O'Toole notes at Cato, it's not as if We Weren't Warned.

    We were warned. After September 11, 2001, historian Stephen Ambrose told us what to do.

    “One of the first things you learn in the Army is that, when you and your fellow soldiers are within range of enemy artillery, rifle fire, or bombs, don’t bunch up,” wrote Ambrose in the Wall Street Journal. Now that the U.S. was under attack from terrorists, Ambrose urged the nation as a whole to learn the same lesson: “don’t bunch up.” “In this age of electronic revolution,” he noted, “it is no longer necessary to pack so many people and office into such small space as lower Manhattan.”

    Ambrose’s advice was ignored. Manhattan’s population has grown by 100,000 people since 2001. Fitting this number of people on a 23‐​square‐​mile island is only possible because of transit systems that force people to pack themselves into buses and railcars.

    Maybe. Although Singapore seems to be doing OK, despite being densely populated.

  • At Econlib, Pierre Lemieux notes that what we're seeing is Government Failure on a Grand Scale.

    Any person or organization can make mistakes, including governmental organizations and the state itself. And, as the popular saying goes, it’s easy to criticize. The problem, however, is that governmental mistakes have much worse consequences than any individual error. It appears that the US government, just like the Chinese government, totally botched the initial response to the coronavirus epidemic, albeit in different ways.

    It is now admitted that the repeated failure of the federal government to provide testing kits or (due to stifling regulations) let private laboratories manufacture them has played a major role in the skyrocketing of infections and deaths in America. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reports (“America Needed Coronavirus Tests. The Government Failed,” March 19, 2010):

    While the virus was quietly spreading within the U.S., the CDC had told state and local officials its “testing capacity is more than adequate to meet current testing demands,” according to a Feb. 26 agency email viewed by The Wall Street Journal, part of a cache of agency communications reviewed by the Journal that sheds light on the early response. …

    CDC officials botched an initial test kit developed in an agency lab, retracting many tests. They resisted calls from state officials and medical providers to broaden testing, and health officials failed to coordinate with outside companies to ensure needed test-kit supplies, such as nasal swabs and chemical reagents, would be available, according to suppliers and health officials.

    As we noted Dr. Fauci saying yesterday: it's nobody's fault. It never is, when it's government's fault, it's a massive enterprise evading responsibility for misfeasance.

  • Virginia Postrel says Coronavirus Should Mean Higher Pay for Health Aides, But Won't. Here's an interesting bit:

    To boost productivity more significantly, potentially improving both care and wages, start-ups are experimenting with artificial intelligence. An intriguing example is Cherry Home, which markets an unobtrusive monitoring system that distinguishes normal behavior patterns from abnormal ones, including falls, restless sleep or signs of confusion. When something looks off, the system alerts a monitoring center, which contacts caregivers, family members or emergency services as needed. The system has a privacy mode that displays stick figures rather than images of people, and it can communicate with someone in distress without requiring them to press a button. In theory, such systems could allow individuals to stay in their homes without having aides or family members present all the time.

    Welcome to our future, where our caregivers will be robots. I probably won't mind; even today, Alexa can usually make me laugh a few times a week.