This past few months, I have been mostly working, rebuilding myself from the top down, and going insane. I have no memory doing anything else other than sleeping, but my notes insist that in addition to all that, I was mostly reading:
- Survey Finds More Than 40% of Americans Misled Others About Having COVID-19 and Use of Precautions — University of Utah Health:
Four of 10 Americans surveyed report that they were often less than truthful about whether they had COVID-19 and/or didn’t comply with many of the disease’s preventive measures during the height of the pandemic, according to a new nationwide study led in part by University of Utah Health scientists. The most common reasons were wanting to feel normal and exercise personal freedom.
- The End of the Road to Serfdom — Cory Doctorow in Medium:
After WWII, every person in the rich world aspired to owning a dishwasher, a house, a TV, a car, and other major appliances and material goods. This gigantic demand meant that there were plenty of profits to go around: even though the factory workers who produced these items reduced their bosses’ profits because they were unionized and earned a decent wage and demanded decent benefits, the sheer volume of items sold to the burgeoning middle class of America meant that those bosses could still get very, very rich. But by the Reagan era, the party was over. People had all the stuff they needed. They’d replace it from time to time, and maybe they’d invest in something new like a personal computer or a VCR, but the post-war big bang of consumer demand had run its course. That could have ushered in an era of steady state: decent wages for the workers who made novelties and new stuff to replace things as they wore out, small but steady profits for their bosses. That was the future Reagan and the neoliberals set out to prevent. If America was fully cooked, it was time to time to redivide the pie.
- When Billionaires And The Government Work Together To Control Information — Caitlin Johnstone:
In addition to being censored across social media platforms, the Hunter Biden laptop story was first ignored and dismissed by the mainstream news media, then spun as a Russian disinfo operation. Those media outlets eventually came around to admitting that the leaked emails were probably authentic, and Hunter Biden tacitly authenticated them himself when he acknowledged that the information “could” have come from his laptop. Nothing that came from that laptop was anywhere near as scandalous as the unified front presented by the news media and Silicon Valley in reducing the political impact of an October surprise before a presidential election. And now we know that the reason the world’s largest social media platform censored that particular story was because they were cautioned by the FBI against allowing such information to circulate. How many of those other institutions suppressed that news story because they were told to by the FBI or other government agencies? How often are US government agencies involving themselves in the act of censorship? What other information is being suppressed in this or similar ways? What other information will be suppressed in the future?
- Back to the Club — Pete Brown in Tribune:
You probably missed the 160th anniversary of the Working Men’s Club movement back in June. Most people did—it wasn’t reported by a single mainstream media outlet. Should it have been? Working men’s clubs are slipping from the nation’s collective memory. For many who do remember them, they are faintly ridiculous institutions, all flat caps and chicken-in-a-basket, channelled through the affectionate filter of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights. For those with longer memories, they are bastions of everything that was wrong with the 1970s: casual racism, rampant sexism, and a world of beige mediocrity. There’s some truth to this picture. But it’s hopelessly incomplete.
- 15-minute cities: how to separate the reality from the conspiracy theory — Alex Nurse, Alessia Calafiore, and Richard J. Dunning in the Conversation:
Conspiracy theories aren’t a new thing, and for as long as they’ve been around they’ve ranged from the benign to the absurd. From the six moon landings being faked to the Earth being flat, or our ruling class being lizards, we’ve all probably come across them in one form or another. Yet, in a surprise twist, the hottest conspiracy theory of 2023 comes from an unlikely corner: town planning. This relates to the idea of “the 15-minute city” and has even gone so far as to be mentioned in UK parliament by an MP who called the idea “an international socialist concept” that will “cost us our personal freedom”.
- The Latest on Possible Causes and Treatments for Long COVID — Adam Kovac in Brain & Life:
In addition to lingering symptoms of the virus, the most common neurologic manifestations include depression and anxiety, cognitive impairment, memory problems, a general feeling of brain fog, and dysautonomia, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, which can cause a drop in blood pressure upon standing and a rapid pulse, among other symptoms. Even more troubling, new data suggest that long COVID may increase the risk of neurologic disorders, ranging from stroke and Alzheimer's disease to Parkinson's disease, according to a study by Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, director of the Clinical Epidemiology Center at Washington University in St. Louis, published in Nature Medicine in September. As researchers learn more about how the virus affects people's lives months or even years after infection, they now recognize that these long-term effects can be persistent, widespread, and likely to clog the American health care system for years.