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The Younger Dryas period

As we prepare to enter the next phase of the fight against climate change -- the phase in which we actually start to do something, on the federal and international levels, with real money and real emissions reductions -- it's worth thinking about what happened the last time humanity went through a period of rapid climate change, which was the Younger Dryas period.

A Long Night

If you think election night is going to be long this year, think about the election of 1800, which pitted the incumbent President John Adams against Vice President Thomas Jefferson. The states all voted at different times, so the first ballots were cast in April and the last ones were cast in October.

Trump's Virus

I've seen a LOT of people opining that Trump is faking his covid diagnosis. Here are a few points to consider:

1) This is extremely damaging for him. His brand is built on strength and manliness. Getting sick plays against that brand. It's especially damaging considering his high-profile refusal to take safety precautions. He's basically Darwin Awarded himself.

Last Mile Travel

There's been some confusion about the term "last mile travel" and what it means. Mass transit transports large numbers of people at once -- that's why we call it "mass" transit. Those people don't all live in the same place, and they're not all going to the same place. Mass transit, by its very nature, relies on transportation hubs like bus stops and train stations. The "last mile" is the portion of a trip between the starting or ending point and the transit hub. It's the portion of the trip that mass transit, by its definition, cannot cater to.

Coronavirus Children in Florida

Children in Florida are three times more likely to test positive than the general population, which is astonishing. I wonder if it has to do with lower rates of mask use. It could also be that children are less likely to be tested unless they've had contact with a confirmed case. Or they could be physiologically more susceptible to infection, even though they're much less susceptible to severe infection.

End of Paycheck Protection

The Paycheck Protection Program has ended. The good news is that most of the companies that wanted to participate were eventually able to. The bad news is that the program was incompetently administrated and is ending as we enter the second wave (or the second part of the first wave, depending on how you count).

Even with government assistance, the first wave still brought unemployment to 15%. The second wave, with dramatically reduced government assistance, will probably be worse.

Republican Platform: No change

The most interesting part of this is that the Trump campaign had tried to move to a simpler, more streamlined platform, which is something I'm broadly in favor of for the Democratic Party.

"Party officials and senior Trump campaign aides had previously discussed ways to pare down the 58-page document to a single note card or abbreviated list of principles, but the effort broke down after several conservative groups registered complaints with the White House....

Unemployment Insurance vs Jobs

"[Several bozos] argued a proposal to add $600 per week to unemployment insurance for up to four months — a core provision of the near-final legislation — could encourage companies to lay off workers and Americans to stay unemployed. [They] filed an amendment to the bill Wednesday evening [which] says weekly unemployment aid may not 'exceed the amount of the individual’s average weekly wages for an appropriate period' prior to having received it."

CECL and Byelorussian

This is... not great. It's complex and technical, so I'll try to translate it into layman's terms.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the accounting community decided to make changes to how we measure things. The hope was that, by measuring things more accurately, we would make a future financial crisis less likely.

Syria Update: Feb 2020, Part II

SYRIA UPDATE: Turkey is now basically at war with Assad, and it's moving in the direction of war with Russia (though I doubt that it will get that far).

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