Sunday Forum

Where did that hour go, anyway?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Beer and bagels please: New York rats evolve to mirror human habits

    “We know rats have changed in incredible ways in their behaviour and in their diet, just as human communities have changed,” said Arbel Harpak, a population geneticist at the New York’s Columbia University. “In New York you can see them eat bagels and beer; in Paris they like croissants and butter. They adapt in amazing ways.”

    But how profound are these changes? Are rats merely first-class opportunists and scavengers, or have they been changing at a genetic level as they adapt to modern life? To answer these questions, a team – co-led by Harpak – analysed the genomes of 29 New York rats which had been lured into traps filled with bacon, peanut butter and oats – favourite rodent treats in the Big Apple.

    Then the researchers compared the genomes of the city’s rodents with those of nine brown rats from Heilongjiang province in north-east China, the original home of Rattus norvegicus. Their findings – posted last week on online site bioRxiv – included a list of several dozen rat genes that showed major changes in DNA over the centuries as the species spread from Asia to Europe and on to America, and from the countryside into cities. These altered genes include those associated with diet, behaviour and movement, and reflect the ever-present need for rats to adapt to the challenges of living with humans in a city. The pressures include increased danger from disease and changes in diets, said the scientists, among them Pleuni Pennings of San Francisco State University and Jason Munshi-South of Fordham University.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Michelle Goldberg:

    As I write this, the Grand Princess, a ship carrying thousands of people, is stuck off the coast of San Francisco after a former passenger who had disembarked died of Covid-19, the disease that this coronavirus causes. According to Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, 11 passengers and 10 crew members are showing signs of the illness, and Newsom said that number may “significantly understate” the severity of the outbreak onboard. This comes after last month’s disastrous attempt to quarantine people aboard another cruise ship owned by the same company, the Diamond Princess, off the coast of Japan. In the end, 705 people were infected on that boat.

    Researchers concluded that if people had been quickly taken off the Diamond Princess, the infection rate would have been only one-eighth as high. Nevertheless, D.H.S. official Ken Cuccinelli told a Senate committee on Thursday that the ship off California can’t be evacuated because American health care facilities lack the capacity to quarantine its passengers. Therefore, at least for now, the Diamond Princess experiment is being run again.

    Jeremy Konyndyk, a former director of the foreign disaster assistance program at USAID who helped manage the response to Ebola during Barack Obama’s presidency, said a competent administration would have had a contingency plan for a repeat of the Diamond Princess debacle. “It’s one thing to be the first one to make a mistake,” he told me. “It’s pretty different to be the second one to make the same mistake.” He added, “To say we’ve got no way to bring these people off the cruise ship is extraordinary to me.”

    Extraordinary, but perhaps not surprising. “It’s like a Xerox copy of Puerto Rico,” Konyndyk said, comparing the administration’s coronavirus response to its mismanagement of Hurricane Maria’s aftermath. Trump’s presidency has caused manifold catastrophes, but so far, most Americans have not seen them up close. That might be about to change. Trump spent much of Thursday afternoon congratulating himself on Twitter for his coronavirus response. If things get really bad, maybe he’ll toss us a few rolls of paper towels.

    3
  3. Bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Beer and bagels please: New York rats evolve to mirror human habits

    You stole the headline of the day away from me! Now what am I supposed to do with the one I have from CNN…..

    1
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Run it anyway. Everybody loves a competition. Except for the loser. 🙁

    1
  5. gVOR08 says:

    I’m taking the liberty of cutting and pasting here a comment I posted on yesterday’s Open Forum which I think deserves notice. Also, too, I corrected a misattribution.

    NYT reports that Erik Prince, failed Blackwater mercenary kingpin, brother of Nancy DeVos, and plotter to set up a back-channel between Trump and Putin in the famous Maldives meeting, recruited former US and UK spooks to help Project Veritas infiltrate “liberal” organizations with something better than their trademark amateurism. NYT mentions that both Project Veritas and Prince have ties to the Trump administration.

    But Adam Silverman at LGM Balloon Juice reports that NYT missed the real story, emphasis mine,

    The really important fact is that Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group, the company of military contractors that he runs, is owned by DVN Holdings, which would ultimately make Prince its chairman. DVN Holdings is owned by Hong Kong investor Johnson Ko Chun and the Chinese International Trust Investment Corporation (Citic), which is a People’s Republic of China (PRC) owned investment fund. Johnson Ko Chun is also on the board of directors of Cambridge Analytica’s spin off Emerdata Ltd along with Rebekah Mercer, her sister Jennifer, as well as former senior officials from Cambridge Analytica. Emerdata is also still tied to the former Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm SCL Group.

    The important fact that everyone keeps missing is that Erik Prince’s operations are funded by the People’s Republic of China. He is now their asset. If he is involved with O’Keefe’s merry band of political ratfuckers, then he is only involved so long as Xi and the PRC want him to be.

    Think there’s any chance of getting Bill Barr to investigate this? Think he cares how corrupt his unitary executive is, or who it’s beholden to?

    1
  6. Teve says:

    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    Two years ago I sat down on an Amtrak train from NYC to Boston. Shortly afterward Senator
    @ewarren
    sat down in the seat behind me. I introduced myself and reminded her we’d met briefly once before at an event. We then proceeded to talk for the next two hours or so.
    3:06 PM · Mar 8, 2020·Twitter for iPad
    2K
    Retweets
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    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    Replying to
    @jelani9
    She was legitimately interested in my work. I was writing a profile of Rev. William Barber and she spoke at length about the importance of what he’s been doing for poor communities. I was impressed by her detailed insight. (I wound up quoting her in the story.)
    @RevDrBarber
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    We also talked about a number of things, including Trump’s election, the economy and the fellowship I was doing at Harvard that semester. I was thankful I hadn’t sat in the quiet car that day. We got to Boston South Station and I said goodbye. Outside it was pouring down rain.
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    So there I am in the middle of a downpour trying to find a taxi when Sen.
    @ewarren
    pulls up and asks if I need a ride. I think she said something like “You’ll die out here or some such.” I accepted and her aide drove me to campus. The Senator and I talked even more in the car.
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    Here’s why I mention this story: I was grateful for the ride, sure. But I was more impressed that this was a political figure who (a) finding herself seated in front of a member of the media nonetheless had an open, candid conversation rather than move or clam up.
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    In my experience politicians are typically very guarded, even with media they consider “friendly.” Not Warren. Also, she could also have driven by and not been judged in the least for not offering me a ride but she didn’t do that either.
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    More substantively, our conversation left me with great respect for her intelligence and her ability to listen. Even when she disagreed with me she did so in a way that let me know she heard what I was saying and understood why I’d drawn that particular conclusion.
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    Finally, she’s a professor. I’m biased but I also think one of Barack Obama’s greatest political assets was the time he spent in classrooms. Teaching is nothing if not a constant listening and communications drill. The conversation with
    @ewarren
    reminded me of that fact as well.
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    2h
    There will be a lot of campaign autopsies and debates about the role of sexism in this election. I can’t forecast that a (white) man with equal skill would’ve gotten the nomination. But he damn sure would’ve been treated better and had an easier road to travel than
    @ewarren
    did.
    jelani cobb
    @jelani9
    ·
    1h
    Oh, I left one thing out. I got to campus and thought I had a great story to tell about getting a ride from Senator Warren and multiple people there were underwhelmed or at least not surprised. “Yeah, that’s something she would do,” several people told me.

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  7. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: Another fantastic example of how misogyny played a major (not the only, mind you, but major) part in why her campaign flamed out…if she were a man she’d be the Democratic frontrunner right now, not to mention very handily beating the Orange Menace in general election polls…

    3
  8. Jax says:

    Trump Jr wants to debate Hunter Biden on….drumroll please….who’s benefitted more from their father’s position. (eyeroll)

    I can’t decide if he’s actually showing some self-awareness, or if he’s actually that stupid…..

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Teve: @An Interested Party: Honestly, I think this exchange just further illustrates what Matt Yglesias wrote last week: Warren is just incredibly good at connecting to smart, well-educated white people.