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The Scrooge McDuck theory of the rich

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Readers of a certain age will remember Scrooge McDuck, the mega-rich uncle of Donald, who enjoys diving into his gigantic money bin filled with gold coins. Replace gold with paper currency[1] and you have the archetypal version of a theory of the rich [2] popular in some versions of Modern Monetary Theory.

Scrooge McMMT has a fancy house and a large bin to hold his money, but otherwise doesn’t spend that much on personal consumption or on physical investment. If the government increases his taxes, the level of money in the bin is lowered, but Scrooge’s expenditure on goods and services doesn’t change at all. Instead, he dips into the money bin a little further to buy politicians who will do his bidding, including (but not limited to) reversing the tax cuts increases.

Conversely, if the government prints money to buy goods and services from the (unspecified) businesses that provide Scrooge’s wealth, the money raises the level of the bin, and nothing else changes.

If this story is right, then there’s no need to tax Scrooge in order to divert resources from private to public use. The government can just create the money and let it pile up in Scrooge’s bin.

Entirely separately from economic effects, there’s Scrooge’s unfortunate habit of buying political influence for malign ends. If his wealth were all taxed away, that would stop.

This leads to a kind of motte and bailey argument. The full political program implied (the bailey) here is a combination of increased public spending and high taxes on the rich to reduce their influence. But since the two are logically separate, if the political resistance to taxation is too strong, we can retreat to the motte, and just spend the money, without running into any resource constraints.

When I get a round tuit, I’ll give some arguments as to why this model isn’t a good one. But (apart from the snarky cartoon reference), I think it’s a pretty fair characterization of the version of MMT presented in (for example), Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth

fn1. Paper would be more consistent with physical reality, since swimming in gold is a very bad idea.

fn2. An ambiguous term. The image conveyed, and the common use of examples like Bezos and Gates, suggests we are only talking about billionaires, but much of the actual debate concerns higher taxes on annual incomes starting at $250k or $400k.

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cjheinz
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#MMT FTW!
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My Mission to Ferret Out a Lost Broadway Score

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The music is a missing piece of the Fats Waller story.
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cjheinz
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#FatsWaller, FTW!
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Pluralistic: 23 Sep 2021

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Today's links


The cover for Joseph Fink's 'The Halloween Moon.'

The Halloween Moon (permalink)

In "The Halloween Moon," Welcome to Nightvale co-creator Joseph Fink brings his superb, unmatchable gift for balancing the weird and the real to a spooky middle-grades novel that echoes such classics as Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-halloween-moon-joseph-fink

If you're a stranger to Fink's work, the thing you need to know is that Nightvale and his other projects manage to walk the tightrope between weird, creepypasta-style humor and real pathos, in a gloriously disorienting, reeling storytelling style.

https://memex.craphound.com/2015/10/20/the-welcome-to-night-vale-novel-dances-a-tightrope-between-weird-humor-and-real-pathos/

The Halloween Moon tells the sale of Esther Gold, a 13 year old who loves Halloween more than anything, and organizes her whole year around it. But this year, her parents have decreed that she is too old for trick-or-treating, a transition she is absolutely unwilling to make.

Rather than heed her parents, Esther hatches a plan to drag her reluctant, Halloween-hating best friend, Augustin, out on a rule-breaking trick-or-treat, engineering a ruse to fool all the adults in their life.

But something is wrong, this Halloween night. As the full moon rises and Esther and Augustin begin their rounds of the best trick-or-treat houses, they notice a distinct absence of kids, and no one is opening their doors.

The world, it seems, has fallen asleep, and the familiar landscapes of their neighborhood now stretch and warp in nightmarish ways. Everywhere they go, they find slumbering kids and adults.

But not all the world is asleep. There's the two creepy gents – brothers? – who pilot a pair of shambling, converted ice-cream trucks: one filled with razor-studded apples, the other with pumpkins that explode into walls of flames.

And then there are the mysterious children (?) in rotting costumes, who make eerie, insectile clicking noises in place of speech.

There's Mr Gabler, the dentist-neighbor who earned Esther's undying mistrust by dispensing toothbrushes instead of candy at Halloween.

For a dentist, Mr Gabler's pretty combat-ready, performing extraordinary feats of home defense as they run from the monsters that stalk the night, periodically quipping, "I wasn't always a dentist."

Finally, there's Sasha, a cloistered girl with an overprotective mother who is also Esther's tormentor, bullying her with antisemitic tropes that she barely understands, even as Sasha herself is subjected to racist bullying by other kids.

This is the setup for a wild chase through the endless Hallowe'en night, a night that has been claimed by the haughty Queen of Halloween, who has managed to pinch off a bubble of our world to turn into her eternal domain.

Our heroes must traverse dreamlands, do battle with monsters, confront their loved ones in their own slumbering fantasies and try to awaken them to reality, and confront their own failures and tensions in a fast-moving, surreal-but-consequential adventure.

If you love Nightvale (and you should), you know that dream-logic can be haunting, and sweet, and full of tension and meaning, despite its fuzzy edges and changing rules.

Fink's middle-grades debut brings that same weird and glorious spookiness to a new kind of audience and a new kind of narrative – short, self-contained, punchy and very, very satisfying. It is certified, grade-A monster kid stuff.



A turntable with a caricature of Teddy Roosevelt as a trustbuster, standing on the tonearm, wielding his 'big stick.'

The music monopolists (permalink)

Writing in Wired, Institute for Local Self Reliance researcher and anti-monopolist Ron Knox gives a thorough, important account of how music industry monoplization resulted declining revenue for artists, even as the industry itself has reaped greater profits.

https://www.wired.com/story/opinion-big-music-needs-to-be-broken-up-to-save-the-industry/

Importantly, Knox describes how concentration has come to every link in music's supply chain, from radio to recording, streaming to live performance. The monopolists who dominate these sectors fight fiercely between each other, but no matter who wins, artists lose.

Let's go segment by segment. Two thirds of all North American music comes from three labels. The labels grew through anticompetitive mergers: giant companies, awash in investor cash, bought out mid-sized, successful labels, turning them into subdivisions of the Big Three.

The more concentrated the labels got, the worse they were for everyone. They spent the nineties and naughties price-gouging record companies, pocketing hundreds of millions from an illegal price-fixing conspiracy. The fines they paid were smaller than the profits they reaped.

But at least they distributed music. Today, the struggling physical record store industry – a network of passionate music sellers who serve the most intense music fans – find themselves getting "record shipments" that turn out to be boxes of random stuff like cough syrup (!).

That happened when the Big Three all piled their distribution into a single company, the monopolist Direct Shot Distributing. As Direct Shot started to fail, its operations descended into chaos, and record stores started to receive boxes of random consumer packaged goods.

It was bad news for the non-monopolized, music-first record stores, but it barely registered for the Big Three labels – today, they buy an average of two new acts every day.

The labels don't make money from selling records, of course. They get their money from streaming.

Streaming is also massively concentrated, gathered into the hands of just a few companies: Spotify, Apple, Youtube, Amazon – with the notable exception of Spotify, the industry is dominated by companies that also monopolize other sectors.

Monopolies are good to these companies. Spotify's market-cap doubled during the pandemic – the market values its 150m subs (twice as many as subscribe with Apple) at $50b. The major labels get $1m/hour from streaming. 99% of their artists see $25/year in streaming royalties.

Spotify may be the biggest streaming service, but it's not the lowest-paying. Youtube – a Google division, whose unsuccessful attempt to launch an in-house video service convinced it that it had to buy someone else's success – drives the worst bargain.

Spotify uses its industry dominance to extract heavy fees from the labels – creaming 30% of the total revenue generated by a typical track. Big Three monopolists with fat margins can absorb this. Indies? Not so much.

Spotify's market cap growth is in part due to the new ways it's come up with to shake down the labels – a variety of tactics that all boil down to one thing: payola. Spotify will sell labels pop-up ads, placement in "radio" algorithms, and access to "Discovery mode."

Like all forms of payola, Spotify's rate-card is a way for monopolists to edge out indies, buying their way into your ear-holes. I'm sure that the Big Three would rather keep the bribes they pay to Spotiify, but the consolation prize is pretty sweet.

If the Big Three are the only ones who can afford to buy access to Spotify's audience, then creators are driven to sign with them, and have less bargaining leverage when they negotiate their deals.

Spotify, meanwhile, can consolidate its gains by driving up those fees, pitting labels against each other in a bidding war for access to listeners. This effectively drives down the royalty rate Spotify pays, because every new track will have to buy in to get any reach.

Spotify talks a good game about how it uses big data and machine learning to pick the songs you hear, but increasingly, the algorithm is getting far less compute-intensive, a simple sort-by-highest-bidder system you could operate from a laptop running Windows 3.1 and Excel.

In theory, streaming losses can be made up with touring. Acts who attain digital popularity can charge access at the door to clubs and other venues. The only problem is that live performance is also a monopoly business.

The 800lb gorilla there is Livenation, a division of the ticket monopolist and notorious arm-breakers Ticketmaster – spun out of Clear Channel, the monopolist that we now know as Iheartradio.

Livenation parlayed its access to the capital markets to buy out $1b worth of venues and promoters, before being acquired by Clear Channel for $4.4b in 2005. Today, it's a division of Liberty Media, consolidated with Ticketmaster, Pandora, and Siriusxm.

What goes around, comes around: Liberty's private equity owners are in the process of buying up Iheartradio, re-merging all of Clear Channel's spinouts into one giga-monopolist.

The conglomerate already coerces artists to book exclusively in its clubs and using its ticketing, starving independent venues. Add 850 terrestrial radio stations to the mix and it will choke off all the oxygen that independent venues, promoters and ticketers rely on.

Liberty didn't buy all these companies because it's passionate about music and wanted to ensure artists got a fair shake. By rolling up the entire live music/radio supply-chain, it bought the power to extract vast sums from musicians, and to keep rivals out of the market.

Well, not all competitors. Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger raised tens of millions for "Savelive," a new would-be monopolist that offered to "rescue" live music venues in exchange for a 51% stake in them.

Savelive illustrates an important point about the nature of monopolies: they beget more monopolies. Consolidation in the labels meant that only the largest streaming companies could negotiate a sustainable rate.

But consolidation in radio drives consolidation in labels – and many of the indie radio stations that survived the first wave of consolidation were picked up cheap by Iheartradio once monopolistic streamers ate their lunch.

This is a pattern across the whole entertainment industry: bookstore mergers and big box retailers drove consolidation in publishing; that was accelerated by consolidation in online ebook and physical book retail.

It's not limited to the entertainment sector either. As David Dayen describes in his essential book MONOPOLIZED, hospitals didn't start consolidating until the pharma industry underwent a wave of brutal mergers and started gouging for drugs.

https://pluralistic.net/2021/01/29/fractal-bullshit/#dayenu

Hospital consolidation led to gouging insurers, leading to a wave of insurance consolidation. Today, nearly every part of the health industry is monopolized, from pharmacy benefit managers to medical labs.

The only parts of the supply chain that doesn't monopolize – that can't monopolize – are the ends of the chain: the people who work in the system, and the people who use it.

Monopoly punishes doctors and nurses and other health workers – and it punishes patients.

It punishes writers and publishing workers, and it punishes readers.

It punishes musicians and independent venue owners, and it punishes listeners.

When every part of the supply chain gets so monopolized that it can't easily be squeezed by any other part of the supply chain, these giants turn on us – the workers and users of the system. We, the atomized and fragmented, cannot resist the squeeze.

But as Knox writes, the tide is turning. After 40 years of waving through anticompetitive mergers in the name of "efficiency," the DoJ and FTC are under new management, with two-fisted trustbusters like Lina M Khan at the helm.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/08/party-its-1979-og-antitrust-back-baby

This new cohort of monopoly fighters reject the "consumer welfare" theory of antitrust (the idea that monopolies drive prices down and are therefore good for society), going to war against the hegemonic orthodoxy that began with Ronald Reagan.

https://doctorow.medium.com/epic-v-apple-d3e59893b4f3

The new antitrust is surging, with bills in the House and Senate, executive orders from the White House, regulatory proceedings at the DoJ and FTC, and an interagency-cabinet coordination committee that ties it all together.

This new antitrust promises workers and users of monopolized industries a better alternative than rooting for one giant to beat another in hopes that they will drop a few crumbs for the rest of us to enjoy.

Creative workers don't have to choose between Big Tech and Big Content based on their assessment of which monopolist will abuse them the least. Instead, we can root for antimonopoly, for giant-slaying, and the right to self-determination.

The most important immediate step towards that future is blocking new anticompetitive mergers, like Sony's bid for AWAL, or Liberty Media's use of a $500m SPAC to go on a vertical monopoly shopping spree.

The agencies have the power to stop these. They should. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

But ending anticompetitive mergers won't get us out of that hole: most industries (from beer to cheerleader uniforms to wresting to eyeglasses) are already monopolized.

The new trustbusters – and the ILSR – want to use antitrust law to break up these conglomerates. I think that's right: vertical monopolies will always engage in self-dealing to the detriment of independents, workers and customers. Break. Them. Up.

But breaking up is hard to do. When the DoJ tried to break up IBM, the company's lawyers outspent the entire DoJ antitrust division, every single year, for twelve consecutive years, and in the end, it escaped breakup.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't try. IBM escaped justice because Reagan was elected and neutered antitrust. And even though it remained intact, it was never the same – for one thing, it decided that it was too risky to make its own PC OS.

IBM knew that antitrust enforcers were very suspicious of tying software to hardware – so it tapped a couple of hacker kids, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, to sell it DOS, from their new company "Micro-Soft."

Unfortunately for all of us, antitrust enforcement only declined after that, so IBM was able to return to its monopolistic ways, and Microsoft escaped from antitrust scrutiny after a mere seven years in regulatory hell.

Antitrust enforcement can sap monopolists of the will to power, as they become increasingly concerned that their actions will attract aggressive legal reprisals.

Think of how Apple "lost" the Epic lawsuit but still "voluntarily" rescinded its heretofore hard rule against apps providing links to web-pages where you can use third-party payment processors to make purchases.

As monopolists lose their nerve, space opens up for all kinds of pro-worker, pro-user interventions, far beyond those afforded by traditional antitrust.

Next year, Beacon Press will publish THE SHAKEDOWN, a book I co-wrote with Rebecca Giblin about the monopolistic corruption of creative labor markets and how creative workers, regulators and fans can resist it.

The Shakedown catalogs the ways that monopolization of investment, distribution and sale of creative works allows entertainment companies, Big Tech, and major retailers to shift an ever-larger share of the creative industry's revenues from workers to themselves.

More importantly, we identify tools beyond breakups that we can use to de-monopolize the industry – things we can do right now, without having to wait for the conclusion of an antitrust suit that might run for decades.

Take reversion rights: many copyright systems allow creators to take back their rights after a set period (35 years in the US). This lets artists who signed bad deals – before they were proven successes – to resell their catalog or extract reparations by threatening to.

But reversion is really hard to do, and 35 years is way too long. Only an handful of creators – even those with valuable catalogs that could be renewed through reversion – ever manage it.

https://pluralistic.net/2021/07/06/backsies/#take-backs

Congress (and other legislatures around the world, including Canada, where this is likely to come up in the new Parliament) could fix reversion: make it easier to do, and make it available after a shorter period – say, 14 years.

And what about those bad contracts? The "freedom to contract" has always been subject to limits, where some clauses are deemed unenforceable "as against public policy" or because they are "unconscionable."

With the entertainment sector consolidated into just a couple of states, state legislatures could act to void the most abusive clauses – for example, clauses that allow labels to claw back royalties indefinitely to recoup (often inflated or fictitious) "expenses."

Our book explores dozens of these kinds of ideas, from co-operatives to trade unions; better accounting practices and direct arts subsidies; radical interoperability and collective licensing; minimum wages for creative labor and collective bargaining.

None of these are replacement for reducing the size and power of conglomerates throughout the supply chain, but all of them are interventions we can make as the power and nerve of conglomerates declines, changes that will hasten that decline and open more space for breakups.

And all of them are applicable, to a greater or lesser extent, to helping workers and users of all the other consolidated industries, from health care to cheerleading.

For example, expanding California's ban on noncompete clauses would help fast-food workers nationwide – because today, fast food employers are the most aggressive abusers of noncompetes.

That means that a fried chicken cashier earning the tipped minimum wage can't quit to work at a burger joint across the street for a $0.25/hour raise. Creative workers aren't the only ones suffering from monopolization – we're not even the worst off.

But by definition, creative workers have a platform. We reach people. We have the potential to help form the kind of unstoppable coalition that we'll need to reverse the generations of oligarchic, post-Reagan consolidation.

You may have heard about how Danish McDonald's workers earn $22/hour and get six weeks' paid vacation and sick leave. That didn't come about because McDonald's was required by law to pay it.

It was worker solidarity that did it. As Matt Bruenig writes, McDonald's initially refused to sign the voluntary "hotel and restaurant" collective agreement. So its workers went on strike.

https://mattbruenig.com/2021/09/20/when-mcdonalds-came-to-denmark/

Now, if McD's workers had struck alone, they'd probably have lost. But Danish law allows for sympathy strikes – that is, it allows workers in other parts of the supply chain to take industrial action to support their sisters and brothers who are striking.

When the McD's workers walked out in 1989, sixteen other sectoral unions joined them. They didn't just help picket at leaflet in front of McD's restaurants!

Dockworkers wouldn't unload McD's shipments. Printers wouldn't print their cups and placemats.

Builders downed tools on McDonald's construction projects. Typesetters wouldn't set the McD's ads in the daily papers. Truckers wouldn't deliver to McD's restaurants. Food industry workers wouldn't produce the drink syrups, fries and other inputs to the McDonald's kitchens.

McD's caved.

Now, as Bruenig points out, these kinds of sympathy strikes are illegal in the US, but it's a mistake to think that workers don't have power because sympathy strikes are illegal – rather, sympathy strikes are illegal because workers don't have power.

Workers across all sectors face the same kinds of monopolistic exploitation. Workers across all sectors have a common enemy (literally, thanks to "common ownership" where companies like Vanguard and Berkshire Hathaway hold significant stakes in almost every major company).

With a shared cause, shared tactics, solidarity and a renewed sense that we can do more than root for the giant we think will mistreat us the least, creative workers and their sisters and brothers in every sector can reverse generations of losses.

That's why the new antitrust matters – because it is an assault on the consolidation that gives all industries the power to shift money and other forms of value from workers and users to a small elite of investors.



This day in history (permalink)

#10yrsago Elizabeth Warren explains why taxing the rich isn’t “class warfare” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htX2usfqMEs

#10yrsago Big Data and privacy https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/external/venturebeat/2011/09/23/23venturebeat-cory-doctorow-tech-companies-exploit-the-way-58275.html

#5yrsago Psychology’s reproducibility crisis: why statisticians are publicly calling out social scientists https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2016/09/21/what-has-happened-down-here-is-the-winds-have-changed/



Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: JWZ (https://www.jwz.org/blog/), Fipi Lele.

Currently writing:

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. Yesterday's progress: 265 words (19864 words total)

  • A Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. PLANNING

  • A nonfiction book about excessive buyer-power in the arts, co-written with Rebecca Giblin, "The Shakedown." FINAL EDITS

  • A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause." FINISHED

  • A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues." FINISHED

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

Latest podcast: Disneyland at a stroll https://craphound.com/news/2021/08/22/disneyland-at-a-stroll/
Upcoming appearances:

Recent appearances:

Latest book:

Upcoming books:

  • The Shakedown, with Rebecca Giblin, nonfiction/business/politics, Beacon Press 2022

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

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"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

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cjheinz
3 days ago
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The Norway McDee's story is totally inspirational.
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What Social Media Needs to Learn From Traditional Media

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Government regulation will never fix everything wrong with online discourse. The industry needs to develop professional norms—just as journalism once did.
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cjheinz
4 days ago
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Duh. Moderation in all things.
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More (biological) science! Human origins, and lots more...

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Sorry for the delay this time, but I'll compensate with new insights into where we came from... 

Not everyone agrees how to interpret the “Big Bang” of human culture that seems to have happened around 40,000 years ago (that I describe and discuss in Existence), a relatively rapid period when we got prolific cave art, ritual burials, sewn clothing and a vastly expanded tool kit… and lost our Neanderthal cousins for debatable reasons. Some call the appearance of a 'rapid shift' an artifact of sparse paleo sampling. V. S. Ramachandran agrees with me that some small inner (perhaps genetic) change had non-linear effects by allowing our ancestors to correlate and combine many things they were already doing separately, with brains that had enlarged to do all those separate things by brute force. Ramachandran suspects it involved “mirror neurons” that allow some primates to envision internally the actions of others. 

 

My own variant is “reprogrammability…” a leap to a profoundly expanded facility to program our thought processes anew in software (culture) rather than firmware or even hardware. Supporting this notion is how rapidly there followed a series of later “bangs” that led to staged advances in agriculture (with the harsh pressures that came with the arrival of new diets, beer and kings)… then literacy, empires, and (shades of Julian Jaynes!) new kinds of conscious awareness… all the way up to the modern era’s harshly decisive conflict between enlightenment science and nostalgic romanticism.


I doubt it is as simple as "Mirror Neurons." But they might indeed have played a role. The original point that I offered, even back in the nineties, was that we appear to have developed a huge brain more than 200,000 years ago because only thus could we become sufficiently top-predator to barely survive. If we had had reprogrammability and resulting efficiencies earlier, ironically, we could have achieved that stopping place more easily, with a less costly brain... and thus halted the rapid advance. 

It was a possibly-rare sequence... achieving efficiency and reprogrammability AFTER the big brain... that led to a leap in abilities that may be unique in the galaxy. Making it a real pisser that many of our human-genius cousins quail back in terror from taking the last steps to decency and adulthood... and possibly being the rescuers of a whole galaxy.
 
== And Related ==

There’s much ballyhoo that researchers found that just 1.5% to 7% of the human genome is unique to Homo sapiens, free from signs of interbreeding or ancestral variants.  Only when you stop and think about it, this is an immense yawn.  So Neanderthals and Denisovans were close cousins. Fine. Actually, 1.5% to 7% is a lot!  More than I expected, in fact.

 

Much is made of the human relationship with dogs…  how that advantage may have helped relatively weak and gracile humans re-emerge from Africa 60,000 years ago or so… about 50,000 years after sturdy-strong Neanderthals kicked us out of Eurasia on our first attempt. But wolves might have already been ‘trained’ to cooperate with those outside their species and pack… and trained by… ravens! At minimum it’s verified the birds will cry and call a pack to a recent carcass so the ‘tooled’ wolves can open it for sharking. What is also suspected is that ravens will summon a pack to potential prey animals who are isolated or disabled, doing for the wolves what dogs later did for human hunting bands.

 

== Other biological news! ==

 

A new carnivorous plant - which traps insects using sticky hairs -has been recently identified in bogs of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

 

Important news in computational biology. Deep learning systems can now solve the protein folding problem. "Proteins start out as a simple ribbon of amino acids, translated from DNA, and subsequently folded into intricate three-dimensional architectures. Many protein units then further assemble into massive, moving complexes that change their structure depending on their functional needs at a given time. And mis-folded proteins can be devastating—causing health problems from sickle cell anemia and cancer, to Alzheimer’s disease."

 

"Development of Covid-19 vaccines relied on scientists parsing multiple protein targets on the virus, including the spike proteins that vaccines target. Many proteins that lead to cancer have so far been out of the reach of drugs because their structure is hard to pin down."


...and...


The microbial diversity in the guts of today’s remaining hunter-gatherers far exceeds that of people in industrial societies, and researchers have linked low diversity to higher rates of “diseases of civilization,” including diabetes, obesity, and allergies. But it wasn't clear how much today's nonindustrial people have in common with ancient humans. Until bio archaeologists started mining 1000 year old poop -  ancient coprolites preserved by dryness and stable temperatures in three rock shelters in Mexico and the southwestern United States.


The coprolites yielded 181 genomes that were both ancient and likely came from a human gut. Many resembled those found in nonindustrial gut samples today, including species associated with high-fiber diets. Bits of food in the samples confirmed that the ancient people's diet included maize and beans, typical of early North American farmers. Samples from a site in Utah suggested a more eclectic, fiber-rich “famine diet” including prickly pear, ricegrass, and grasshoppers.” Notably lacking -- markers for antibiotic resistance. And they were notably more diverse, including dozens of unknown species. “In just these eight samples from a relatively confined geography and time period, we found 38% novel species.”


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cjheinz
5 days ago
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Julian Jaynes and ravens scouting for wolves, FTW!
#CORVIDS
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New on Vocal: Why We Need Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and Why It Needs Universal Basic Income (UBI)

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It's published!!! At just shy of 14,000 words, my latest article is the closest thing to writing a book that I've done so far. Despite its length, it's still meant to be readable like an enjoyable book, and not a heavy academic slog that no one will read. I hope readers will agree.

I've long avoided explaining money itself as part of convincing people UBI is a good idea, because that's so much heavier a lift. UBI doesn't require that people understand money and macroeconomics. So I've just explained UBI within the context of what people already think about money and how the economy works. It's a lighter lift to just convince people UBI is a good idea using what they currently think about money.

My thinking changed last year as I watched 2020 unfold. People's lack of understanding of how money works helped prevent emergency UBI from happening. Instead we just got a few stimulus checks, and concerns about the deficit almost prevented two of them from ever happening, and all of them were means-tested. Now we just canceled the UI boost out of a fear of deficits and inflation and people choosing not to work despite the states that already canceled it not showing any worthwhile increase in employment, and despite it being a terrible way to handle temporarily higher inflation, to reduce the incomes of millions of people.

We just can't escape the reality that a poor understanding of money and taxes and the economy as a whole is literally killing us and causing so much entirely unnecessary suffering.

Fair warning: this will likely take you over an hour to read, but there is also the option of listening to it too, which will take one hour and twenty minutes. Thank you for investing your time in reading or listening to this, and thank you as well for recommending it to others too, should you find it to have been a valuable use of your time.

The article is titled: Why We Need Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and Why It Needs Universal Basic Income (UBI).

You can listen to the article wherever you listen to podcasts via Anchor. Two other options are Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


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cjheinz
13 days ago
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#MMT #UBI
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