Casino capitalism, bankruptcies, bailouts. Sound familiar?
“There is one fundamental lesson we must learn from this experience: electricity is really different from everything else. It cannot be stored, it cannot be seen, and we cannot do without it, which makes opportunities to take advantage of a deregulated market endless. It is a public good…”
These earnest phrases sound like something said during one of the recent inquiries into the Texas power outage.
They’re not. They were made by the Chairman of the California Power Authority — on May 15, 2002.
What do the California and Texas black-outs possibly have in…
When it costs $900 to fill up a Tesla, something is broke.
MIT economists Paul Joskow and Richard Schmalensee recollect their surprise when they were approached by two economists of the then-new Reagan administration in 1981.
Joskow and Schmalensee shouldn’t have been all that surprised. Deregulation was is the air, and they were the experts. The Carter administration had applied the idea to the airlines, interstate trucking, railroads and long distance telephony. “They asked us,” Joskow recalled in 2019 interview, “‘Why can’t we do this for electric power?’”
Joskow and Schmalensee did a double-take. “We said, ‘What? Wait? Huh?’”
“Joe Biden calls for 100 percent clean electricity by 2035,” the Washington Post wrote last July. Paying close attention to political statements is usually a waste of time, but words matter in headlines. The significant word in that one was “clean.” The word that was not there was “renewable.” This is more than a quibble. For the first time since the 1970s, the Democratic Party has both a platform and a president officially in favor of nuclear power.
Republicans have a lot of hot-button issues, such as gun control and abortion. The Democrats perhaps have fewer that generate emotional high…
With so many now, I pick and choose some favorites.
I first started tracking Covid antibody levels exact a year ago. It seems fitting to update this page with a link to an article in The Guardian:
About half of people in UK now have antibodies against coronavirus (here)
Dr. Henrik Jarlov is the keeper of the Google Sheet. A link to it is here. This is the best one-stop list of serosurveys to date. As of this morning (5/31), it had 105 entries.
I keep a private leaderboard of results that interest me for one reason or another. …
Last post, I was speculating. Now with real data!
At the bottom of my last post about a December 2019 Covid case in Portland, Oregon, I attempted to reconcile two facts:
● there are a growing number of reports from people who have tested antibody positive who are convinced they had Covid-19 in December, 2019 and January, 2020;
● there is data from viral genome sequencing that shows most SARS-CoV-2 cases on the U.S. West Coast descend from one copy of the virus introduced near Seattle from Wuhan on 15 January, 2020.
This is bad news for people who like…
Blood antibody testing is telling some uncomfortable Origin Stories.
Antonio wanted to know if the guy was a nut case.
Antonio Regalado, of MIT Technology Journal, had emailed me an informal five-page document entitled “Community Serum Antibody Testing For Past COVID-19 Infection.” He said he had been making the rounds on the internet. Was it for real? Or was it a hoax?
Hoaxes were on the brain at the time. On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, KSBW in Monterey, California, had aired a story about California’s potential “herd immunity” to SARS-CoV-2. …
A blood bank study yields now-familiar results
A serology study of blood bank donations in the Netherlands in early April produced the then-usual figure for antibody prevalence, 3%.
The data were revealed to the country’s House of Representatives on 16 April 2020 by Hans Zaaijer, a virologist at Sanquin, the Dutch national blood bank.
Geneva University Hospital results capture an epidemic in motion
A fascinating weekly serosurvey by researchers at Geneva University Hospital (HUG) and the University of Geneva has managed to capture seroconversion in progress.
Geneva, like all Switzerland, was put under lock-down in mid-March. HUG began taking blood samples from a random sample of 1330 from approximately 600 households each week in early April. The weekly results as of 6 May, 2020:
• 1st week 3.1% — April 6
• 2nd week 6.1% — April 13
• 3rd week 9.7% — April 20
Conservatively assuming a delay of 4 weeks from date…
Will Bates writes about science, technology, and business. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and numerous magazines.