URLs du Jour


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  • Survival Not Incentive Enough? Drew Cline examines the issue of jab-reluctant citizens: Free beer & no masks: How better vaccine incentives can help shorten the pandemic. He notes that in just the past couple weeks, New Hampshire has gone from Number One in the percentage of distributed vaccines administered to Number 23. (And, as I type, the site he references has us down another notch: #24.)

    What to do?

    A better vaccination campaign would offer a combination of fun incentives and positive messages. 

    A UCLA study found that people respond to cash and lifestyle incentives. Offering between $25-$100 raised people’s willingness to get the vaccine by between 13-19%. Cash was more effective with Democrats than Republicans.

    Telling people that they won’t have to wear a mask after they get vaccinated also was effective at changing minds. For all respondents, the percentage who said they were more likely to get a vaccine rose by 13 points, from 50% to 63%. For Republicans, the gain was 18 points, from 35% to 53%.

    Yeah, fine, but…

  • What's The Matter With Dover? Drew also points out that the Next Town Over From Us is sending mixed messages and (as I type) he is not kidding.

    The mask messaging is important. Requiring people to continue masking in public after vaccination undermines the government’s message that vaccination will make them safer and bring a return to pre-pandemic life.

    This confusing messaging is prevalent in New Hampshire. Dover, which has a public mask mandate, tells residents that they must continue masking after getting vaccinated.

    Its guidance reads:



    I'm relatively sure that mask-free walking in Dover has always been safe. And (I think) legal, as long as you don't go around licking strangers. At least my dog and I have been getting away with it for (so far) the past 14 months.

  • But Are They Still A Girl's Best Friend? Virginia Postrel knows her crystallized carbon (Bloomberg): Diamonds Are Separating 'Natural' From 'Ethical'.

    Vegan silk and leather, mine-free diamonds, bioengineered perfumes: Lab-grown products with ethical appeal could be the future of luxury. Exemplified by the announcement last week that giant jeweler Pandora A/S will no longer use mined diamonds in its products, the emergence of these high-tech luxury goods represents a significant cultural shift.

    Since the first Earth Day a half-century ago, large industries have grown from the widespread conviction that “natural” foods, fibers, cosmetics and other products are better for people and the planet. It’s an attitude that dates back to the 18th- and 19th-century Romantics, who rejected industrialism in favor of sublime landscapes and rural nostalgia: What’s given is good; what’s made is suspicious, especially if it’s of recent origin.

    We're not just getting better at making diamonds from scratch: also meat, leather, silk, and perfumes. And probably more, sooner rather than later. Good news for cows, etc.

  • Depending On Who Their Enemies Are… Lefty Matt Taibbi is honest enough to remember: Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They're Agents of It. Excerpt:

    After the Capitol riots of January 6th, the War on Terror came home, and “domestic extremists” stepped into the role enemy combatants played before. George Bush once launched an all-out campaign to pacify any safe haven for trrrsts, promising to “smoke ‘em out of their holes.” The new campaign is aimed at stamping out areas for surveillance-proof communication, which CNN security analyst and former DHS official Juliette Kayyem described as any online network “that lets [domestic extremists] talk amongst themselves.”

    Reporters pledged assistance, snooping for evidence of wrongness in digital rather than geographical “hidey holes.” We’ve seen The Guardian warning about the perils of podcasts, ProPublica arguing that Apple’s lax speech environment contributed to the January 6th riot, and reporters from The Verge and Vice and The New York Times listening in to Clubhouse chats in search of evidence of dangerous thought. In an inspired homage to the lunacy of the War on Terror years, a GQ writer even went on Twitter last week to chat with the author of George Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech about imploring the “authorities” to use the “Fire in a Crowded Theater” argument to shut down Fox News.

    I'm old enough to remember when the librarians worried frantically about the Feds looking into their patrons' suspicious reading habits. Today, they're probably sending lists of people who have checked out The Art of the Deal to Homeland Security.

  • Still Trying To Atone For Those Nasty Siamese Cats in Lady and the Tramp. Paul Mirengoff comments on another company striving for Peak Wokefulness. The Walt Disney Company: Dismayed by America, inspired by China.

    Leaked documents show that the Walt Disney Company has asked employees to complete a “white privilege checklist” and to “pivot away from “white dominant culture.” The documents, published by Christopher Rufo, state (falsely) that the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans are “part of a long history of systemic racism and transphobia.” The documents also cover such topics as “white privilege,” “white fragility,” “white saviors,” “microaggressions” and “antiracism.”

    The documents suggest that employees reflect on the diversity of their personal and professional networks. Employees should also consider how other dimensions of their identities “give (or do not give) you access and advantage.” Furthermore, workers are encouraged to “work through feelings of guilt, shame, and defensiveness to understand what is beneath them and what needs to be healed.”

    Disney also fired Gina Carano while not firing Liu Yifei. So there's that.

  • Also, China Probably Doesn't Care How Many People Its Trains Run Over. David Boaz takes on Connecticut Senator Murphy, who tweeted:

    David notes that not all is rosy, trainwise, in Disney's favorite country: China's High-Speed Debt Trap.

    “Boston to DC
    – Airline time: 1.6 hours”

    The reason high‐​speed rail never caught on in the United States is because we had jet airliners before Japan even started building its first bullet train. Why should we worry that a train from Beijing to Shanghai is faster than a train from Washington to Boston when our planes are twice as fast as the fastest trains in the world?

    David also points out (2) China's actually giving up on building some new rail lines; and (3) it's really spending a lot of money on new expressways. You know, used by those things that aren't trains.

    For additional amusement on the same topic, see also JVW@Patterico: Delusional Senator Dreams of High-Speed Rail Where It Is Least Suitable.

  • WIRED Article I Didn't Finish Reading. Humans Need to Create Interspecies Money to Save the Planet.

    No, the author is not kidding.

Last Modified 2021-06-03 9:17 AM EST