04 December 2020
In 2010 reader Mikeb302000 sent me a link to the very interesting video above. The presentation comes from the National Firearms Museum, and provides details about the Girandoni air rifle, manufactured in the 1790s by Austrians and used in European wars. A rifle similar to the one depicted was carried on the Voyage of Discovery by Lewis and Clark across the Louisiana Purchase to the mouth of the Columbia River.
I found more information at Guns.com:
The Livrustkammarne Museum in Stockholm is home to the earliest example of a mechanical air gun dating back to 1580... The Girandoni was the first pneumatic rifle and first repeating rifle ever used in warfare and it was special issue for the Austrian Army from 1780 to 1825...This has permanently changed my concept of "air rifles." I never owned an air rifle; my first weapon was a .22 caliber conventional rifle, and like most Americans, I conflated an "air rifle" with a BB gun, a mental image formed by repeated viewing of A Christmas Story -
And believe it or not it was a stone cold killer at up to 100 yards, able to punch a hole in a 1 inch pine board for the first 30 shots on a single air reservoir. The power dissipated and required a ‘pump up’ after that but the gun was miles ahead of anything seen thus far...
My initial scepticism of these weapons was fuelled by the misconception that they were similar to a Daisy BB gun. When I realized that the Girandoni propelled a .46 calibre ball through a rifled barrel at a muzzle velocity of 900 fps, I realized how wrong I had been. Providing a high rate of fire, there was no smoke from propellants nor muzzle flash to reveal ambush positions nor concern for inclement battle conditions as you needn’t worry about keeping powder dry.
The Red Ryder BB gun was prominently featured in A Christmas Story, in which Ralphie Parker requests one for Christmas, but is repeatedly rebuffed with the warning "You'll shoot your eye out". The movie's fictional BB gun, described as the "Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time", does not correspond to any model in existence nor even a prototype; the Red Ryder featured in the movie was specially made to match author Jean Shepherd's story (which may be artistic license, but was the configuration Shepherd claimed to remember). However, the "Buck Jones" Daisy air rifle, immediately above the Red Ryder in the Daisy line, did have a compass and sundial in the stock, but no other features of the "Red Ryder" model. The guns and a stand-up advertisement featuring the Red Ryder character appeared in a Higbee's store window in the film, along with dolls, a train, and Radio Flyer wagons.The Girandoni air rifle was most impressive firearm for its era. Fully recharging the pressure chamber required up to 1500 strokes, but European armies carried spare pressure chambers. The next step for me was to read a book about the Lewis and Clark expedition. I chose the classic Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jeffeerson, and the opening of the American West, by Stephen E. Ambrose, (excerpts here).
Some probe-foraging birds locate their buried prey by detecting mechanical vibrations in the substrate using a specialized tactile bill-tip organ comprising mechanoreceptors embedded in densely clustered pits in the bone at the tip of their beak. This remarkable sensory modality is known as ‘remote touch’, and the associated bill-tip organ is found in probe-foraging taxa belonging to both the palaeognathous (in kiwi) and neognathous (in ibises and shorebirds) clades of modern birds. Intriguingly, a structurally similar bill-tip organ is also present in the beaks of extant, non-probing palaeognathous birds (e.g. emu and ostriches) that do not use remote touch. By comparison with our comprehensive sample representing all orders of extant modern birds (Neornithes), we provide evidence that the lithornithids (the most basal known palaeognathous birds which evolved in the Cretaceous period) had the ability to use remote touch. This finding suggests that the occurrence of the vestigial bony bill-tip organ in all modern non-probing palaeognathous birds represents a plesiomorphic condition. Furthermore, our results show that remote-touch probe foraging evolved very early among the Neornithes and it may even have predated the palaeognathous–neognathous divergence. We postulate that the tactile bony bill-tip organ in Neornithes may have originated from other snout tactile specializations of their non-avian theropod ancestors.
This year marks 10 years since the first description of a cytokine storm that developed after chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy and 27 years since the term was first used in the literature to describe the engraftment syndrome of acute graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. The term “cytokine release syndrome” was coined to describe a similar syndrome after infusion of muromonab-CD3 (OKT3). Cytokine storm and cytokine release syndrome are life-threatening systemic inflammatory syndromes involving elevated levels of circulating cytokines and immune-cell hyperactivation that can be triggered by various therapies, pathogens, cancers, autoimmune conditions, and monogenic disorders...In this review, we propose a unifying definition of cytokine storm; discuss the pathophysiological features, clinical presentation, and management of the syndrome; and provide an overview of iatrogenic, pathogen-induced, neoplasia-induced, and monogenic causes. Our goal is to provide physicians with a conceptual framework, a unifying definition, and essential staging, assessment, and therapeutic tools to manage cytokine storm.
01 December 2020
Every now and then I use this blog to get advice from readers about subjects that are a bit hard to find information about online. My first queries are about salt licks.
26 November 2020
National Geographic‘s Ed Yong reports on the finding:The bit that actually changes colour is the tapetum lucidum or “cat’s eye”—a mirrored layer that sits behind the retina. It helps animals to see in dim conditions by reflecting any light that passes through the retina back onto it, allowing its light-detecting cells a second chance to intercept the stray photons. The tapetum is the reason why mammal eyes often glow yellow if you photograph them at night—you’re seeing the camera’s flash reflecting back at you.Reindeer eyes, by default, are gold. But during the long winter, their pupils dilate for months on end, Yong explains. All of this effort takes a toll on the reindeers’ eyes, which begin to swell and in turn exert pressure on tapetum.This layer is mostly made up a collagen, a protein whose long fibres are arranged in orderly rows. As the pressure inside the eye builds up, the fluid between the collagen fibres gets squeezed out, and they become more tightly packed. The spacing of these fibres affects the type of light they reflect. With the usual gaps between them, they reflect yellow wavelengths. When squeezed together, they reflect… blue wavelengths.The wintery blue, Yong writes, is about 1,000 times more sensitive to light than the summery gold. The latter color, on the other hand, helps in the summer by bouncing the majority of light off of the animals’ eyes, effectively acting like a pair of natural sunglasses.
You learn something every day.
25 November 2020
[from 2014] I just heard that Gabriel Garcia Marquez died today. In his memory I would like to cite (part of) the most remarkable sentence I've ever read. It was 25 years ago that I first read Love in the Time of Cholera, and a year or two later One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Autumn of the Patriarch. The first two are in my view the better books, but Autumn of the Patriarch [fulltext at the link] has one truly awesome sentence. It begins like this, at the start of the final chapter of the book...
THERE he was, then, as if it had been he even though it might not be, lying on the banquet table in the ballroom with the feminine splendor of a dead pope amidst the flowers in which he would not have recognized himself in the display ceremony of his first death, more fearsome dead than alive, the velvet glove stuffed with cotton on a chest armored with false medals of imaginary victories in chocolate wars invented by his persistent adulators, the thunderous full-dress uniform and the patent leather boots and the single gold spur that we found in the building and the ten sad pips of general of the universe to which he was promoted at the final moment to give him a rank higher than that of death, so immediate and visible in his new posthumous identity that for the first time it was possible to believe in his real existence without any doubt whatsoever, although in reality no one looked less like him, no one was so much the opposite of him as that showcase corpse which was still cooking in the middle of the night on the slow fire of the tiny space of the little room where he was laid out with candles while in the cabinet room next door we were discussing the final bulletin with the news that no one dared believe word by word when we were awakened by the noise of the trucks loaded with troops in battle gear whose stealthy patrols had been occupying public buildings since before dawn, they took up prone positions under the arcades of the main commercial street, they hid in doorways, I saw them setting up tripod machine guns on the roofs of the viceregal district when I opened the balcony of my house at dawn looking for a place to put the bouquet of wet carnations I had just cut in the courtyard, beneath the balcony I saw a patrol of soldiers under the command of a lieutenant going from door to door ordering people to close the doors of the few shops that were beginning to open on the commercial street, today is a national holiday they shouted, orders from higher up, I threw them a carnation from the balcony and I asked what was going on with so many soldiers and so much noise of weapons everywhere and the officer caught the carnation in midair and replied to me just imagine girl we don't know ourselves either, the dead man must have come back to life, he said, dying with laughter, because nobody dared think such an earthshaking event could have happened, rather, on the contrary, we thought that after so many years of negligence he had picked up the reins of his authority again and was more alive than ever, once more dragging his great feet of an illusory monarch through the house of power where the globes of light had gone on again... [and ends thus]... he had arrived without surprise at the ignominious fiction of commanding without power, of being exalted without glory and of being obeyed without authority when he became convinced in the trail of yellow leaves of his autumn that he had never been master of all his power, that he was condemned not to know life except in reverse, condemned to decipher the seams and straighten the threads of the woof and the warp of the tapestry of illusions of reality without suspecting even too late that the only livable life was one of show, the one we saw from this side which wasn't his general sir, this poor people's side with the trail of yellow leaves of our uncountable years of misfortune and our ungraspable instants of happiness, where love was contaminated by the seeds of death but was all love general sir, where you yourself were only an uncertain vision of pitiful eyes through the dusty peepholes of the window of a train, only the tremor of some taciturn lips, the fugitive wave of a velvet glove on the no man's hand of an old man with no destiny with our never knowing who he was, or what he was like, or even if he was only a figment of the imagination, a comic tyrant who never knew where the reverse side was and where the right of this life which we loved with an insatiable passion that you never dared even to imagine out of the fear of knowing what we knew only too well that it was arduous and ephemeral but there wasn't any other, general, because we knew who we were while he was left never knowing it forever with the soft whistle of his rupture of a dead old man cut off at the roots by the slash of death, flying through the dark sound of the last frozen leaves of his autumn toward the homeland of shadows of the truth of oblivion, clinging to his fear of the rotting cloth of death's hooded cassock and alien to the clamor of the frantic crowds who took to the streets singing hymns of joy at the jubilant news of his death and alien forevermore to the music of liberation and the rockets of jubilation and the bells of glory that announced to the world the good news that the uncountable time of eternity had come to an end.What is remarkable is not the content per se, but the fact that I used the ellilpsis in the center of the citation to pass over 53 pages of text - all of it one single sentence. I once estimated that the sentence comprises about 17,500 words. One might consider this creation to be a whimsy or a conceit by someone just playing with words, but in my view it is a sort of prose poem by a superbly skilled writer who loves the craft of language. If you'd like to give it a try, go to this link.
"... only then did he realize that his life was passing. He was shaken by a visceral shudder that left his mind blank, and he had to drop the garden tools and lean against the cemetery wall so that the first blow of old age would not knock him down."
"She had barely turned the corner into maturity, free at last of illusions, when she began to detect the disillusionment of never having been what she had dreamed of being when she was young..."
"... they marked the passage of his life, for he experienced the cruelty of time not so much in his own flesh as in the imperceptible changes he discerned in Fermina Daza each time he saw her."
"By the time she had emptied the teapot and he the coffeepot, they had both attempted and then broken off several topics of conversation, not so much because they were really interested in them but in order to avoid others that neither dared to broach.""It was the first time in half a century that they had been so close and had enough time to look at each other with some serenity, and they had seen each other for what they were: two old people, ambushed by death, who had nothing in common except the memory of an ephemeral past that was no longer theirs but belonged to two young people who had vanished and who could have been their grandchildren.""Then he reached out with two icy fingers in the darkness, felt for the other hand in the darkness, and found it waiting for him. Both were lucid enough to realize, at the same fleeting instant, that the hands made of old bones were not the hands they had imagined before touching. In the next moment, however, they were."
24 November 2020
Many readers will have already seen the names and perhaps some biographical information at various internet sites, but I think it's interesting and refreshing to see Biden's own assessment of his appointees:
22 November 2020
"From Middle English wherfor, wherfore, hwarfore, equivalent to where- (“=what”) + for. Compare Dutch waarvoor (“what for, wherefore”), German wofür (“for what, what for, why”), Danish and Norwegian hvorfor (“wherefore, why”), Swedish varför (“wherefore, why”)."
A pediatric immobilizer for radiologic and perhaps radiotherapy procedures. The name is not a slang term - it's the official product name. "Stat" of course means "stationary," and I'm guessing the "pigg" comes from a development period in veterinary medicine. Perhaps some radiology-minded reader will know more of the backstory.
Addendum: Hat tip to "Unknown" reader for finding the answer to the above question at The Radiologic Technologist.
Please forgive me if my mind keeps seeing this as a blender...
I saw this story on the evening news and thought it was worth reposting in the blog. There are seemingly endless numbers of jump rope videos on YouTube, including some fairly spectacular performances (try searching "double dutch").
The video features a group called The Firecrackers. I initially posted one of their performances back in 2010 (it's a low-rez amateur video but still shows the moves).
This new video is better because it incorporates the backstory (which begins at 1:30). This coach is a remarkable woman.
19 November 2020
Mask-wearing makes a big difference. So does limiting indoor gatherings. In particular, closing indoor restaurants, bars and gyms has reduced the virus’s spread in many places.Arizona is an excellent example. Its governor, Doug Ducey, a Republican, resisted taking aggressive action for weeks. But in late June, he closed bars, movie theaters and gyms and banned gatherings of 50 people or more. The rules began to lift in August.Look at what happened to the virus in Arizona while the restrictions were in place — and what happened afterward (chart above).
Since Gov. Ron DeSantis reopened Florida in late September, the number of reported Covid-19 cases per week in the state has tripled.On September 25, DeSantis signed an executive order reopening the state, freeing restaurants and bars to operate at 100% capacity. In the week leading up to the order, Florida reported more than 17,000 new cases.In the past 7 days, the state has reported more than 53,000 -- meaning three times more Floridians have tested positive in the past week than in the week before the reopening.
17 November 2020
The swan song (ancient Greek: κύκνειον ᾆσμα; Latin: carmen cygni) is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. The phrase refers to an ancient belief that swans sing a beautiful song just before their death, having been silent (or alternatively, not so musical) during most of their lifetime. This belief, whose basis in actuality is long-debated, had become proverbial in ancient Greece by the 5th to the 3rd century BC and was reiterated many times in later Western poetry and art. [details at the link]Peterson et al. [of the field guide] note that Cygnus olor is "not mute but lacks bugling call, merely honking, grunting, and hissing on occasion." However, the whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), a winter visitor to parts of the eastern Mediterranean, does possess a 'bugling' call, and has been noted for issuing a drawn-out series of notes as its lungs collapse upon expiry, both being a consequence of an additional tracheal loop within its sternum. This was proposed by naturalist Peter Pallas as the basis for the legend... The whooper swan's nearest relatives, the trumpeter and tundra swans, share its musical tracheal loop
This research examines the evolution and phylogenetic distribution of a peculiar and often overlooked character seen in birds, herein called tracheal and esophageal displacement. Tracheal and esophageal displacement refers to an asymmetrically situated trachea and/or esophagus along the length of the neck. This contrasts with what would be perceived as the “normal” (midsagittal) placement of these organs, wherein the two organs are situated along the ventral midline of the neck with no deviation... essentially all birds have a laterally displaced trachea and/or esophagusIt is hypothesized here that lateral displacement of the cervical viscera evolved in birds to function as an ever increasingly efficient bypass system to allow the trachea to remain a short, straight, and patent tube able to keep up with the demands of a more mobile and flexible neck. A more loosely attached trachea and esophagus would be beneficial for those birds with highly dynamic neck movements.The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) has a trachea and esophagus that travels 12 cm along the ventral midline of the neck until the fifth cervical vertebra where they pass right laterally across it to become situated well dorsal to the vertebral column (Fig 8). By the twelfth cervical vertebra they cut back across the cervical column to become positioned at the ventral midline once more to enter the thorax. As the trachea passes across the fifth cervical it also rotates onto its side.Dorsolateral placement of the organs is, essentially, nothing more than the result of the organs cutting past a highly S-shaped neck. In particular, it is because the organs cut across the “caudal loop” ... of the S of the cervical column.
The trachea of Panraogallus appears to have coiled twice outside its chest, and may have coiled back towards the chest, before going up to the chest cavity again where it attached to the lungs... The coiled trachea of Panraogallus was possibly longer than its body, and it probably produced sounds with a lower frequency and with reduced harmonics, compared to pheasants of a similar size.
In 1968, the Night Watchmen (originally called The Embryos) combined with the Dartmouth band Ham Sandwich. After Logan and Calvert left the group, Pinkston and Wilkes recruited Peter Wonson (class of'68) and Ned Berndt ('72), along with Hanover residents Ken Aldrich and Skip Truman. They formed Tracks, which went on to record original material and become a "super popular" headliner in the New England music scene, says Logan.Review (of 1991 CD compilation):Not to be confused with Bowie guitarist Earl Slick's 1972 group on Capitol Records or a late-'70s Boston punk band fronted by Lori Doll, this Tracks reigned between 1969 and 1974 and had the distinction of being produced by Wayne Wadhams, lead singer of the Fifth Estate (which hit with "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" in 1967). Along with a unique version of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," this ensemble comes up with a real sleeper in the tune "Pawnbroker" -- a strong, methodical ballad featuring great vocals and interplay from the guitar and keyboard that put it in a league with the legendary Modern Lovers...Russell Pinkston: "In the spring of 1969, my junior year at Dartmouth College, I dropped out of school to play full time with a rock band called “Tracks.” For the next five years, through various incarnations of the group, Tracks played all over New England in night clubs, fraternities, high school proms, and the occasional “big time” rock concert. We opened for acts such as the James Gang, Canned Heat, The Chambers Brothers, and Tom Rush, and by the time we broke up in 1974, we had recorded three full albums of original music. Although we had a couple of offers from producers, we never got signed by a record label, so soon after we called it quits, we made a triple album of our demo tapes as a “going away present” for our fans.
"It is admired for the gilded cedar wood handle and its copper blade. One of the sides of the blade is adorned with some scenes for Heh, Nekhbet, and other deities who are supposed to protect the pharaoh. The other side of the blade depicts the pharaoh tormenting one of his enemies as a symbol for sovereign power, topped with some cartouches with the names and titles of Ahmes."
"A harrowing new report from the UT Austin has examined the impact of COVID-19 on prisons and jails. Texas correctional facilities lead the country in COVID infections, with more than 23,000 cases and at least 230 deaths, including 27 staff members, 14 people held in jails, and 190 held in prisons.Of the 190 incarcerated people who died, 21 of them had served 90% of their sentences. 110 of them were eligible for parole. And 9 of them were approved for parole, but had not yet been released. Of the 14 people held in jails, 11 of them were still awaiting trial, and had not yet been convicted of any crimes."
"Williams also told Waddell he thought the Confederacy had erred in not sending a cruiser to the Arctic earlier in the war, “for the destruction of that northern whaling fleet, from which New England gathered her wealth, would have more seriously affected the Northern mind than a dozen battles in Virginia.”Williams’ comment, said Waddell, indicated a just idea of the Yankee character and its policy in the war; they made money by it, and for this reason they waged it. Politicians fed on fat contracts and immense government expenditures, enriching the agents through whose hands the money passed. A high tariff taxed the people without their seeing it, while the manufacturers realized fortunes. The newspapers of the large cities, filled with the details of battles, greatly increased their circulation, and their proprietors grew correspondingly wealthy. The government simulated business by issuing paper and creating a debt that it intended the South is eventually to pay. It is thus that the war is waged and continued, and it is only to be stopped on the mercenary principle of showing that it would no longer pay to keep it up!”
Collected from everywhere, stored forever, source attributions lost:
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.Atheism is a non-prophet organization.I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.If a mute swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him...is he still wrong?Is there another word for synonym?Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice?"Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?What was the best thing before sliced bread?Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?If you ate pasta and antipasta, would you still be hungry?If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?Politicians are like diapers: they need to be changed frequently. And for the same reason."When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours. That's relativity." -- Albert EinsteinIt is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest.
“Williams went to enormous lengths to fool the Custer Wolf. He boiled his traps for half a day then buried them in cow manure for several days to mask any human scent. Once prepared they were stored in cowhide bags, and when he was setting them he was careful to first throw down a cowhide before dismounting, so he didn’t leave any scent on the round. He also sprinkled the area with female wolf scent.The Custer Wolf ignored all these traps… Nothing Williams tried seemed to work, though he often caught glimpses of the wolf trailing him along a parallel ridge, stopping when he stopped. If Williams reached for his tobacco pouch, the wolf watched with interest, but if he reached for his rifle, the Custer Wolf simply vanished.The wolf was sometimes warned of Williams’s presence by a pair of coyotes, so to even up the sides a little, Williams shot the coyotes. Since he didn’t want to let old Custer know that his early warning system was no longer operating, he tossed the bodies of the coyotes into a deep ravine, only to return the next day to find their bodies dragged back to the top and left in plain view for Williams to find.”Later, Williams found the Custer Wolf feeding at a carcass so he set his elaborately prepared traps around it. But more often than not, the wolf just pulled the carcass across the traps to spring them.”
15 November 2020
Photo credit to Kjetil Salomonsen, a birder from Bergen (Norway).This little Mandarin duck was the attraction of the month here in Bergen, mostly because he is a juvenile that was spotted alone in a small pond with still his immature plumage on. Between early October and last weekend, people have gone there often and were able to see the progression of his colors from immature to a vibrant grown male.For reference, here is the same individual that I captured about 10 days prior, look at the difference in colors not even two weeks can make!
"In 1990, a panel of the windscreen on British Airways Flight 5390 fell out at 17k feet, causing the cockpit to decompress & its captain to be sucked halfway out of the aircraft. The crew held onto him for more than 20 minutes as the copilot made an emergency landing. The pilot made a full recovery.""If I remember correctly, the accident happened because someone eyeballed the screws when they replaced the window, and they were like a millimeter off."Pretty close. The screws used to secure the windshield were different lengths for different areas. Instead of using a template to know where each screw came out of or referring to the IPC (illustrated parts catalog) they just put the screws in a pile and slammed them back in without ever knowing if the screws were actually grabbing enough threads on the nutplates."
The incomparable Dolly Parton, pictured above with massively "big hair" and looking so young, presumably from the 1960s.
For an even better experience, go HERE and watch her perform "I Will Always Love You." (image credit here).
Reposted from 2008 to add this photo of Dolly with her husband Carl Thomas Dean, to whom she has now been married for over 50 years -
- and this comment from the discussion thread at the OldSchoolCool subreddit source:
“The only bipartisan thing people in Tennessee agree on is that you don’t talk shit about Dolly.”Related: 100,000,000 books donated
12 November 2020
Wisconsin: The state that has unraveled the fastest.The pandemic has worsened across the country over the last two months, but perhaps nowhere as quickly as in Wisconsin.At the beginning of September, Wisconsin was averaging about 700 cases a day. By this week, it was averaging more than 6,000. Hospitals are packed and more than 300 deaths were reported in the state over the last week, a record. Last week, Wisconsin’s chief health officer quit, noting the enormous pressure on public health officials during the pandemic.“It took us seven and a half months to get to 100,000 cases,” Gov. Tony Evers said at a news conference on Tuesday evening, after issuing an executive order advising residents to stay home. “But it only took 36 days to add another 100,000. The way things are going, it will take us only 20 days to reach another 100,000.”Testing centers are overwhelmed, raising the risk of further spread as people who might otherwise learn they are infected delay isolating themselves.“They told us, ‘Yeah, you should get tested, but we’re out of tests,’” said Tim Cigelske, 39, of Whitefish Bay, of a local testing site he called when his family grew sick. It required multiple phone calls, virtual doctor visits and four trips to testing sites over three days to get himself, his wife and their two children tested, Mr. Cigelske said.All were positive for the virus.
"So many counties are so far past the Dept. of Health Services' highest classification for case activity, that it needed to create a brand new category...
To be considered for the previous top category, “Very High,” a region’s case rate would have to surpass 350 cases per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks. Every single one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties has at least doubled that number, with Washburn Co. reporting the lowest rate in the state at 769.6 cases per 100,000 people.The new “Critically High” level sets the bar at 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents. [only seven counties are below that].
The problem, he says, is that there are too many people like me. “You are ruling class,” he said, with no more rancor than if he had informed me that I had brown hair, or a slightly newer iPhone than his. Of the three factors driving social violence, Turchin stresses most heavily “elite overproduction”—the tendency of a society’s ruling classes to grow faster than the number of positions for their members to fill. One way for a ruling class to grow is biologically—think of Saudi Arabia, where princes and princesses are born faster than royal roles can be created for them. In the United States, elites overproduce themselves through economic and educational upward mobility: More and more people get rich, and more and more get educated. Neither of these sounds bad on its own. Don’t we want everyone to be rich and educated? The problems begin when money and Harvard degrees become like royal titles in Saudi Arabia. If lots of people have them, but only some have real power, the ones who don’t have power eventually turn on the ones who do.In the United States, Turchin told me, you can see more and more aspirants fighting for a single job... Elite jobs do not multiply as fast as elites do. There are still only 100 Senate seats, but more people than ever have enough money or degrees to think they should be running the country. “You have a situation now where there are many more elites fighting for the same position, and some portion of them will convert to counter-elites,” Turchin said.Donald Trump, for example, may appear elite (rich father, Wharton degree, gilded commodes), but Trumpism is a counter-elite movement. His government is packed with credentialed nobodies who were shut out of previous administrations, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes because the Groton-Yale establishment simply didn’t have any vacancies. Trump’s former adviser and chief strategist Steve Bannon, Turchin said, is a “paradigmatic example” of a counter-elite. He grew up working-class, went to Harvard Business School, and got rich as an investment banker and by owning a small stake in the syndication rights to Seinfeld. None of that translated to political power until he allied himself with the common people. “He was a counter-elite who used Trump to break through, to put the white working males back in charge,” Turchin said.Elite overproduction creates counter-elites, and counter-elites look for allies among the commoners. If commoners’ living standards slip—not relative to the elites, but relative to what they had before—they accept the overtures of the counter-elites and start oiling the axles of their tumbrels. Commoners’ lives grow worse, and the few who try to pull themselves onto the elite lifeboat are pushed back into the water by those already aboard. The final trigger of impending collapse, Turchin says, tends to be state insolvency. At some point rising insecurity becomes expensive. The elites have to pacify unhappy citizens with handouts and freebies—and when these run out, they have to police dissent and oppress people. Eventually the state exhausts all short-term solutions, and what was heretofore a coherent civilization disintegrates.