Eugene Linden
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Maddening Numbers

The way in which the media and policymakers are using the numbers on coronavirus approaches insanity. Most of the numbers published are about as credible as Trump’s estimates of the size of his inaugural crowd. Absolutely no one with any expertise believes that China has only 80,000 cases o...


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Deep Past
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endangered animals
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Winds of Change
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Afterword to the softbound edition.

The Octopus and the Orangutan
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The Future In Plain Sight
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The Parrot's Lament
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Silent Partners
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Affluence and Discontent
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The Alms Race
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Apes, Men, & Language
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Wednesday November 06, 2013

If anyone ever deserved to lose an election it was Ken Cuccinelli in his bid to be governor of Virginia. In a repulsive display of abuse of power, he had earlier used his position as the state's attorney general to pursue a witch hunt against the distinguished climate scientists Michael Mann. Cucinnelli's over-reaching in this vendetta came back to bite him. Turned off by his denialist postion on climate change and by his extreme stance on other social issues, a number of Republican donors, who had backed earlier GOP candidates for governor, refused to contribute to his campaign. Despite the fact that his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, was a Washiington insider who could be tied to Obama and the hapless launch of Obamacare, Cuccinelli couldn't raise the money to match Democratic spending in the final days of the campaign. One sparrow does not make a spring, but it is refreshing to see that some GOP donors are beginning to push back against the anti-science elements that have dominated the party. The GOP once championed environmental issues. Perhaps there is hope that the party will yet recognize that global warming will not discriminate between Democrats and Republicans.

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Short Take

A Glimmer of Hope in the Coronavirus News?

I’m usually the most apocalyptic guy in the room, but, maybe, there’s a glimmer of hope in the latest news on the coronavirus. If it’s been circulating in Washington state for several weeks, it’s probably also been circulating in a few other states for weeks as well. And if there hasn’t been a big spike in visits to emergency rooms with respiratory ailments (and I have not read about such), it may well be that the virus is already widely spread in the U.S., but not hitting Americans as hard as it has populations elsewhere. If this turns out to be the case, the difference might be that there are far fewer smokers in the U.S. than in China, South Korea, Japan and Italy, and that the air is far cleaner in American cities than in China’s. 

We’ll find out in the next few weeks whether Americans are better able to withstand the disease. There remain major unknowns about coronavirus; nor do we know how hard the virus will hit the elderly and infirm. Still, this latest news could be a positive. 

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