Daily Digest 9/9 – The Challenging Next Phase of the Pandemic, The Biblical Flood That Will Drown CA


Fire Destroys Most of Europe’s Largest Refugee Camp on Greek Island of Lesbos (jdargis)

Some residents of the camp managed to escape to the island’s main town of Mytilene, while others were able to remain in their tents in small areas of the camp that were unaffected by the blaze. But many were being held nearby on Wednesday morning while the Greek authorities decided where to house them.

Aid workers said the fire at Moria, which is named after a nearby village, began shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday following protests by residents over recent coronavirus restrictions and spread quickly because of high winds and the explosion of gas canisters.

U.S. to Reduce Troop Levels in Iraq to 3,000 (jdargis)

“This reduced footprint allows us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS in Iraq and ensuring its enduring defeat,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the military’s Central Command, said in remarks in Iraq on Wednesday.

General McKenzie, who last month signaled the impending troop cuts, said improvements in the Iraqi military’s campaign against the Islamic State enabled the Pentagon to make the additional troop cuts.

“We Have A World To Win”: New Yorkers On Not Leaving NYC (RS)

Home means different things to different people. Despite my roots, I’m the last of my family here. My siblings left for other states where it’s easier to do almost everything. I’m angry that the city has been made so unaffordable that I’m the last one here, the last connection to my family’s history in this city. I worry that if I leave, that connection will be lost forever. I’m rooted here through my grandparents and great grandparents, and honestly those are the only roots holding me to this country. What’s the point of moving to another city where I know no one and where the overall struggles of living in the US are the same?

Justice Department wants to defend Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit (RS)

“I can’t remotely conceive how DOJ can argue with a straight face that it is somehow within the official duties of the President to deny a claim that he committed sexual assault years before he took office,” Honig said.

The Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr are already under fire for actions that appear to benefit Trump’s political standing.

Geopolitics: How Maps Help Us Understand History, Predict the Future, and Go Beyond Politics (Alex)

Geography’s raison d’etre is straightforward: to write about, describe, or better understand patterns and processes on Earth. It’s not just maps and state capitals, nor is it simply the creation of maps (that’s cartography).

Thus, when the hidden power of geography is appreciated – especially as it relates to the state’s imperatives – conflicts between competing states as well as the relationship between the state and the individual begins to make more sense.

Authorities misinterpreting COVID-19 trial data with ‘disastrous’ results, Canadian researchers say (Brad K.)

The episode was typical of what has become a serious problem in the COVID-19 pandemic: misinterpretation of trial data, with “disastrous” results for other studies, Mills and colleagues argue in a recent medical journal commentary.

Influenced by media accounts, scientific oversight boards often don’t recognize there are distinct phases to COVID-19 sickness, and that what works at one point in the disease may be useless at another — or vice versa, they wrote in Lancet Global Health.

The Emotionally Challenging Next Phase of the Pandemic (tmn)

But Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is an election ploy, not a guarantee of scientific progress. Drug companies that are competing to develop vaccines are banding together to resist political pressure to take shortcuts in safety testing. On NPR Thursday, Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said that an effective vaccine by the end of next month is “extremely unlikely” and that population-wide distribution of a vaccine could take until the middle of next year.

Tracking Coronavirus Cases at U.S. Colleges and Universities (jdargis)

A cluster of 44 cases in the Virginia Commonwealth athletic department forced the university to find additional isolation space. As cases mounted on campus, Iowa State scrapped plans to allow 25,000 fans to attend their first home football game. And California State University, Chico, sent students home to take online classes after dozens of cases emerged, including at least one in almost every dorm.

“I, like you, wish the story of this semester had been much different,” Gayle Hutchinson, the university’s president, wrote in a letter announcing the decision.

Trump’s Drilling Ban Bombshell Rocks Oil Industry (Michael S.)

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) analysis of API polling data, however, the oil industry has strong support in key battleground states, with 93 percent of voters in critical states seeing it as important for the U.S. to produce enough energy to keep it from relying on foreign oil, while 92% believe that keeping oil and gasoline prices affordable is important. 82% of voters recognize the value that oil and gas have on their lives, and 73% believe that nat gas and oil will still be a significant part of America’s energy needs in 2040. What’s more, 63% believe that the nat gas and oil industries will be critical for helping the economy recover from the current pandemic.

Why the Bay Area sky has a yellow glow but it doesn’t smell like smoke (RS)

Jan Null, a meteorologist who runs a private forecasting service called Golden Gate Weather Services, added that the marine inversion layer acts as a barrier. “That’s why air quality isn’t too bad this morning,” Null said. “The smoke is not able to mix down through the inversion. The smoke is also sort of traveling past us.”

Tuesday’s conditions are different from recent weeks when smoke from nearby blazes, located directly within the boundaries of the Bay Area, traveled low in the atmosphere, nearly hugging the ground. The Bay Area smelled like a campfire for weeks.

The Biblical Flood That Will Drown California (PaulJam)

Brewer went on to recount scenes from the Central Valley that would fit in a Hollywood disaster epic. “An old acquaintance, a buccaro [cowboy], came down from a ranch that was overflowed,” he wrote. “The floor of their one-story house was six weeks under water before the house went to pieces.” Steamboats “ran back over the ranches fourteen miles from the [Sacramento] river, carrying stock [cattle], etc., to the hills,” he reported. He marveled at the massive impromptu lake made up of “water ice cold and muddy,” in which “winds made high waves which beat the farm homes in pieces.” As a result, “every house and farm over this immense region is gone.”

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