Daily Bread for 8.7.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see thunderstorms with a high of 82. Sunrise is 5:53 AM and sunset 8:07 PM, for 14h 13m 11s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 1.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Harvard Mark I Computer CC BY-SA 3.0

On this day in 1944, IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I).

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Laurel White reports ‘Audit The Vote’ Rally Draws Thousands to Wisconsin Capitol:

“It is time for this GOP-controlled Legislature to stand up, to exercise their duty under the constitution and not let some other branch trample all over it,” [former Milwaukee sheriff David] Clarke told the rally crowd, which he also led in a chant of “Vos has gotta go!”

Clarke argued Vos and other state leaders are ignoring the will of the people.

This is about what you want — not these public rulers. I do not care what they think,” he said. “They were sent here to carry out your will, not theirs.”

(These conservative populists – a right-wing horde – want what they want, and for them Assembly Speaker Vos is nothing unless he does everything they want.)

Linda Qu reports No, there is no evidence that migrants are driving the surge in coronavirus cases:

Officials have said that positive test results among migrants have increased in recent weeks. A spokesman for Hidalgo County in Texas, which is in the Rio Grande Valley, where many migrants cross the border, said that the positivity rate for migrants was about 16 percent this week, as of Thursday.

But public health experts said there was no evidence that migrants were driving the surge of coronavirus. The positivity rate for residents of Hidalgo County — excluding migrants — was 17.59 percent this week.

While Texas is experiencing many more cases than a couple of months ago, many of the major outbreaks are occurring in states — such as Missouri and Arkansas — that do not border Mexico, said Dr. Jaquelin P. Dudley, associate director of the LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease and a professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jonathan Freedland writes Trump may be fading away, but Trumpism is now in the American bloodstream

It seems nothing will shift the conviction of the faithful, not even the latest confirmation that it was Trump, not Biden, who was determined to rob the people of their democratic will: “Just say that the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me,” Trump told his acting attorney general last December, according to a newly released note taken by the latter’s deputy. Meanwhile, an Arizona state senator has called for election officials to be held in solitary confinement.

The Republican tribe cleave loyally to the other defining feature of 2020 Trumpism: the refusal to believe in the reality of Covid and to do what’s needed to thwart the virus. And so the single greatest predictor of whether an American has been vaccinated or not is whether they voted for Biden or Trump last November. As of last month, 86% of Democrats had received at least one shot; among Republicans it was only 45%.

(See also Man and Movement.)

Shirin Ghaffary writes “People do not trust that Facebook is a healthy ecosystem”:

New York University researcher Laura Edelson is at the center of the latest major Facebook controversy over the misinformation that’s eroding our democracy and encouraging Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Earlier this week, Facebook abruptly shut down the personal Facebook accounts and research tools of Edelson and two of her colleagues at the NYU Ad Observatory, which studies political advertisements and misinformation on the platform.

Facebook says the Ad Observatory was violating people’s privacy by tracking some users’ data without their permission through its Ad Observer browser extension tool. Edelson denies this and said that her team only collected data from people who volunteered to share their information. Facebook’s move drew condemnation from free speech advocates and lawmakers, who accused Facebook of squelching independent research. The FTC criticized Facebook’s decision, saying the company’s initial rationale was “inaccurate.”

And Edelson says Facebook is trying to stifle her work, which has shown that ?Facebook has failed to disclose who pays for some political ads and that Facebook users engage with misinformation more than other kinds of information on the platform. “It doesn’t like what we’re finding, and I think it is taking measures to silence us,” Edelson told Recode in her first in-depth interview since the accounts were suspended.

(Edelson means, of course, that sensible people doubt that Facebook is a healthy ecosystem. Those sensible people are right.)

Hungry Ducks Swarm Farmer in Vietnam:

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