I've been wondering for a long time why we haven't seen anything like this: X PRIZE Healthspan.

The XPRIZE Foundation is proud to announce its newest competition, XPRIZE Healthspan. XPRIZE Healthspan is a 7-year, $101 million global competition to revolutionize the way we approach human aging.

Modern medicine focuses on treating symptoms of injury, illness, or disease once they develop. This reactive system extends life, but doesn't proactively improve health, leaving millions grappling with poor quality of life and related economic challenges in their later years.

Success from XPRIZE Healthspan would profoundly change our approach to aging and positively affect quality-of-life and healthcare costs. Working across all sectors, we can democratize health and create a future where aging is full of potential.

The thing is... if I found a way to reverse aging I could probably make more than $101m selling it.

Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott at the London Times provide the most comprehensive collection of evidence to-date describing how COVID-19 was intentionally created at the Wuhan Institute of Virology as part of a bioweapon program run by the Chinese military and funded by American taxpayers.

Scientists in Wuhan working alongside the Chinese military were combining the world's most deadly coronaviruses to create a new mutant virus just as the pandemic began.

Investigators who scrutinised top-secret intercepted communications and scientific research believe Chinese scientists were running a covert project of dangerous experiments, which caused a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and started the Covid-19 outbreak.

The US investigators say one of the reasons there is no published information on the work is because it was done in collaboration with researchers from the Chinese military, which was funding it and which, they say, was pursuing bioweapons.

With millions of dollars in funding from American taxpayers.

Its work protecting pets and endangered species did not attract substantial funding. But after the September 11 terror attacks and the Sars outbreak, the US began to see the importance of funding work combatting bioterrorism and pandemics. The trust began to focus on how viruses might cross from animals to people and spark a pandemic.

Shi's team provided the fieldwork for the trust's campaign and the laboratories to test and experiment on the viruses. In 2009, the trust was given $18 million over five years from a new programme, called Predict, to identify pandemic viruses. Shortly afterwards, the trust was rebranded as the EcoHealth Alliance and Daszak assumed the role of president. The Chinese collaborators who helped put him on the map were also rewarded: $1 million of the Predict grant was redirected to the Wuhan institute.

The article has a lot more information that is all very compelling. At this point I think it's virtually certain that the lab-leak hypothesis is true, and that it's very likely that COVID-19 was developed as part of a bioweapon program.

(HT: Powerline Blog and Instapundit.)

David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey explain why it's impossible for the United States to default on its debts.

Those who warn of default confuse debt payments with other spending obligations. "A failure on the part of the United States to meet any obligation, whether it's to debt holders, to members of our military or to Social Security recipients, is effectively a default," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in January.

That's nonsense. Authorized and even appropriated spending isn't "the public debt." For constitutional purposes, promised benefits from Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements aren't even property, as the Supreme Court held in Flemming v. Nestor (1960), and Congress has as much authority to reduce them as to increase them. When lawmakers were drafting the 14th Amendment, they revised Section 4's language to replace the term "obligations" with "debts." If the Treasury ran out of money, the constitutional obligation to pay bondholders would trump all statutory obligations to spend.

Ms. Yellen also said that "Treasury's systems have all been built to pay all of our bills when they're due and on time, and not to prioritize one form of spending over another." But as the Journal has reported, department officials conceded in 2011 that the government's fiscal machinery certainly could prioritize payments to bondholders, and the Federal Reserve prepared for such a contingency. There's no question enough money would be available: The government collects roughly $450 billion a month in tax revenue, more than enough to cover the $55 billion or so in monthly debt service.

We've got plenty of money to make debt payments, but we may need to cut other spending to do it -- which we would be Constitutionally required to do.

(HT: Instapundit.)

It seems that most conservatives are calling the new Bank Term Funding Program a "bailout" for the rich, but as far as I can tell preventing a contagious bank-run is good for everyone. Shareholders and bondholders of any failed banks are not being guaranteed in anyway, only depositors (i.e., bank customers).

The additional funding will be made available through the creation of a new Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP), offering loans of up to one year in length to banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other eligible depository institutions pledging U.S. Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, and other qualifying assets as collateral. These assets will be valued at par. The BTFP will be an additional source of liquidity against high-quality securities, eliminating an institution's need to quickly sell those securities in times of stress.

Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank are being "resolved" and shareholders are being wiped out. Bondholders will probably get some of their money back, but they won't be made whole. Depositors will be fully protected. Bank runs are caused by depositors panicking and withdrawing their money, so the BTFP should be sufficient to forestall that catastrophe without "bailing out" banks using taxpayer dollars. I guess we'll find out.

On Wednesday Trump visited East Palestine, Ohio, to support the people affected by the train derailment while Biden visited Kyiv to support Ukraine's fight against Russia.


Trump visited East Palestine to show support for a community afflicted by the toxic train derailment as President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and other administration officials have come under scrutiny for the federal response to the disaster.

"Get over here," was Trump's terse, three-word response to a reporter's question about what he would tell Biden.

The Buckeye State blitz wasn't perfect, with a strange self-promotional reference to Trump water.

But it was otherwise a vintage Trump performance the 2024 candidate should like to bottle.


President Biden paid an unannounced visit Monday to Ukraine's capital, offering a huge show of support for the country the U.S. and its allies have helped to hold out during Russia's nearly-year-long, unprovoked invasion. Mr. Biden spent about six hours in Kyiv, much of it with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whom he promised unwavering backing and another tranche of American weapons.

"You know, one year later, Kyiv stands. Ukraine stands," Mr. Biden said while there. "Democracy stands. America stands with you and the world stands with you. Kyiv has captured a part of my heart."

At the most basic political level, which trip wins more votes? In my opinion, Trump's visit to Ohio is better politics. But on the other hand, only the sitting President can demonstrate American commitment with a foreign visit like Biden's, which highlights his stature.

(I posted this to the DnD subreddit also: link.)

The Open Gaming License fiasco with Dungeons & Dragons producer Wizards of the Coast is a symptom of a larger problem: our insane Intellectual Property system that currently protects material for the life of the author plus 70 years. As a comparison, patents generally only protect inventions for 20 years.

The purpose of intellectual property laws is to balance public and private interests. IP law is an agreement between society and creators: the creator is guaranteed an exclusive right to their creation for a period of time, and in exchange the public gets rights to the creation afterwards. It's intended to be a balance of interests, but the balance has gotten completely out of whack thanks to (obviously) lobbying throughout the 20th century by major copyright holders like Disney.

In my opinion, the current copyright term, life of the author plus 70 years, is grossly unfair to the public. I believe that the internet era has demonstrated that creators would be incentivized to create even without such a long period of exclusivity. Think about it: would you create less stuff if your great-grandkids didn't get exclusive rights? I doubt it.

Listen: creators should be able to make money from their work. I don't think copyright should go to zero, but why not bring it in line with patent protection with a 20-year term?

Disney, DnD, and many other creations are part of our generation's cultural legacy, part of a 10,000+ year inheritance that has been handed down through time to our grandparents, our parents, and now us. It's morally wrong for our ancestors and corporations to lock our inheritance away from us.

Copyright protections must be re-balanced to protect both creators and the public. This problem with WotC shouldn't be just about a license, it should be about the IP laws that grant them exclusive rights to creations that are over 50 years old. Our generation should re-open these negotiations and come up with a fair copyright term.

Many people say that the Republican infighting over Kevin McCarthy's election as Speaker of the House is embarrassing and demonstrates a lack of governing ability. I say: more squabbling please!

The House should be raucous. Why should everything be politely settled behind closed doors? No! We need more public fighting among our elected officials, not less. Americans have major disagreements with each other, and the best way to sort them out is through politics. Let's have them yell and scream and argue with each other in public until someone wins.

Alice Evans writes that working-age men in America aren't working.

7 million men aged 25-54 in the USA are not working

What are they doing?

Volunteering? Worship? Care-work?

"Playing Call of Duty stoned"

They report 2000 hours a year of screen time (w/ pain meds)

This phenomenon is far less severe in Western Europe

She has many charts and graphs that dig into the details.

where are all the workers.jpg

My opinion is that we're beginning to see human workers displaced by automation in a way that doesn't create new jobs for the displaced humans. Men are more affected than women because women dominate "caring professions" that are harder to automate.

I don't have a lot to say about the recent midterm election results.

  • I was surprised by how poorly the Republicans did
  • The American right needs to think long and hard about its political positions -- what they are, and how to communicate them to Americans in a persuasive way
  • Candidate quality matters, and Trump has terrible judgement on this
  • It's embarrassing that the results of the election aren't fully known almost a week later.

It seems like elections should be a lot easier. We've made them harder than they need to be.

  • In-person voting on a single day, except for deployed military or invalids.
  • Paper ballots, counted at the precinct. Properly maintain chain-of-custody records for ballots.
  • Show identification to vote.
  • Dip your thumb in purple ink after you've voted.

This isn't rocket science. All the fancy machines and alternate voting methods have made elections too complicated to administer in a transparent and credible manner.

This seems insane. Why create a more transmissable and lethal version of COVID?

DailyMail.com revealed the team had made a hybrid virus -- combining Omicron and the original Wuhan strain -- that killed 80 per cent of mice in a study.

The revelation exposes how dangerous virus manipulation research continues to go on even in the US, despite fears similar practices may have started the pandemic.

Professor Shmuel Shapira, a leading scientist in the Israeli Government, said: 'This should be totally forbidden, it's playing with fire.'

Gain of function research - when viruses are purposefully manipulated to be more infectious or deadly - is thought to be at the center of Covid's origin.

We may never know the origin of COVID-19 with certainty, but gain-of-function research needs to stop.

Italy's new prime minister Giorgia Meloni explains why so many people are afraid of her victory. American newspapers categorize her as "far-right", but Italian newspapers call her "center-right". Let's see what she does.

This is quality.


As John Hinderaker helpfully explains, The "Green Revolution" Is Impossible due to constraints on input materials (among other reasons). Courtesy of Professor Simon Michaux:

The quantity of metal required to make just one generation of renewable tech units to replace fossil fuels, is much larger than first thought. Current mining production of these metals is not even close to meeting demand. Current reported mineral reserves are also not enough in size. Most concerning is copper as one of the flagged shortfalls.

green energy material requirements.jpg

All this posturing is about control, not the environment or the earth. The long-term future of energy is space-based solar and nuclear.

(HT: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)

Louise Perry writes that she was betrayed by the lies of the sexual revolution. As a father of daughters this is heartbreaking to read.

It's precisely because I'm a feminist that I've changed my mind on sexual liberalism. It's an ideology premised on the false belief that the physical and psychological differences between men and women are trivial, and that any restrictions placed on sexual behavior must therefore have been motivated by malice, stupidity or ignorance.

The problem is the differences aren't trivial. Sexual asymmetry is profoundly important: One half of the population is smaller and weaker than the other half, making it much more vulnerable to violence. This half of the population also carries all of the risks associated with pregnancy. It is also much less interested in enjoying all of the delights now on offer in the post-sexual revolution era. ...

The new sexual culture isn't so much about the liberation of women, as so many feminists would have us believe, but the adaptation of women to the expectations of a familiar character: Don Juan, Casanova, or, more recently, Hugh Hefner.

It's almost as if our ancestors were wiser than we realized.

Self-identified liberals outnumber conservatives among Harvard faculty by 82-1.

More than 80 percent of Harvard faculty respondents characterized their political leanings as "liberal" or "very liberal," according to The Crimson's annual survey of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in April.

A little over 37 percent of faculty respondents identified as "very liberal"-- a nearly 8 percent jump from last year. Only 1 percent of respondents stated they are "conservative," and no respondents identified as "very conservative."

Academics usually explain this uniformity by asserting that liberals are smarter than conservatives and thus better suited for faculty positions in higher education -- particularly in self-identified elite universities. This explanation is relatively simple to assess by considering whether or not these same academics would entertain a similar explanation for a lack of sex or racial diversity in other institutions, such as corporate leadership or government. If one were to claim that "there are more male CEOs because men are smarter than women" that claim would be rightly dismissed.

(HT: Campus Reform and Instapundit.)

Ross Douthat says that this fact is the heart of the abortion issue, and I agree. Our tolerance, acceptance, and promotion of at-will abortion is a shame and humiliation for our generation and civilization. Our descendants will look back on this era with horror and disgust, much like we view slavery and the Holocaust. They will ask, how could any people kill a million of their own children every year? How did they talk themselves into accepting the slaughter of the weakest and most vulnerable among them? How did they dehumanize the unborn, to be exterminated like insect infestations?

As is often the case, the solution to abortion -- and the general mistreatment of children and other vulnerable people -- won't be found in laws or courts. The solution is for each of us to honor the divine spark in each other. To recognize that we are each made in God's image, and each uniquely valuable because of that likeness.

Deuteronomy 27:19 -- 'Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Exodus 22:22 -- You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.

Psalm 68:5 -- Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

Many people I talk to are eager for "prices to get back to normal", but that's not how inflation works. Medora Lee does a good job reminding us of that.

When talking about inflation, it's important to remember that inflation is a rate that measures how fast prices are rising. If the consumer inflation rate drops from its 40-year high of 8.6% in May, prices are still rising - just not as fast.

Consumers won't feel immediate relief even as the inflation rate slows because many of those elevated prices are likely here to stay, said Michael Ashton, managing principal at Enduring Investments in Morristown, NJ.

"The price level has permanently changed," said Ashton. "Until your wages catch up (to inflation), it will continue to hurt."

Even when inflation returns to target 2% levels, prices won't return to "normal" 2019 levels. Prices will continue to grow, but at a slower and more predictable rate.

"Once core prices go up, generally they don't come down," Roussanov said. "In the last 40 to 50 years, we've never seen deflation in core goods. Most durable goods and services don't really come down in price."

And deflation is more dangerous than inflation because it can lead to a total economic collapse. When people believe that their money will buy more in a year than it will now, they stop consuming and just wait.

Additionally, modest, predictable inflation is seen as a sign of a growing economy. It incentivizes people to spend money now rather than waiting, allows wages to increase either in line or above inflation to boost the standard of living and makes it easier for businesses to plan, according to the Federal Reserve and IMF.

Bank runs are bad. They're bad enough to bring down governments. There's been a slow-motion bank run in rural China for several months, and people are starting to get concerned that the "contagion" could spread.

In the anatomy of an economic crisis, a bank run is the point of no return.

Bank runs occur when people scramble to withdraw cash from banks in fear of collapse. In the worst cases, banks' liquid cash reserves are exhausted, not everyone gets their money and the bank defaults. ...

In recent years it has become clear the Chinese people are losing faith in their financial institutions. There's been anger over harsh COVID lockdowns in Shanghai recently, while the collapse of China Evergrande saw rare public demonstrations as residents faced the prospect of losing their life savings used as deposits for housing. ...

Multiple sources contacted by Asia Markets, have confirmed deposits at the following six banks have been frozen since mid-April.

  • Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank (located in Xuchang City, Henan Province)
  • Zhecheng Huanghuai Bank (City of Shangqui, Henan Province)
  • Shangcai Huimin Rural Bank (Zhumadian City, Henan Province)
  • New Oriental Village Bank (City of Kaifeng, Henan Province)
  • Huaihe River Village Bank (Bengbu City, Anhui Province)
  • Yixian County Village Bank (Huangshan City, Anhui Province)

It's understood the banks with branches across the Henan and Anhui Provinces successively issued announcements in April, stating they would suspend online banking and mobile banking services due to a system upgrade.

At the same time, clients reported their electronic deposits in online accounts, mobile apps and third-party platforms could not be withdrawn.

This led to depositors rushing to local bank branches, only to be told they were unable to withdraw funds.

It looks like the bank failures are due to fraud and corruption -- bank managers simply stole the money. Hopefully this corruption isn't widespread and the problem can be contained.

In this new era of stagflation it's important to remember that inflation is caused by expectations as much as by reality. If people and companies expect prices to go up, they'll start charging more for their products and services -- which is inflation. Inflation will only abate when expectations change.

So when we see a chart like this one it's not only that President Biden's policies created inflationary conditions, his policies also created the self-fulfilling expectation of inflation.

biden inflation.jpg

Presidents Obama and Trump spent boatloads of borrowed money and ran up the deficit, but something about President Biden (and, of course, the global environment) really spooked people.

It's a complete mystery why anyone would bribe Hunter Biden. Maybe it's because of his artistic talent.

But how about the question of how this investigation, and Hunter's underlying conduct, relate to President Biden himself? To read the Times and the WaPo, you would think that that whole question is somehow out of line. The Times's piece doesn't even discuss Joe's role or involvement, although it does include this bizarre line:
It is not clear whether the criminal probe is focused solely on Hunter Biden, or if he is among a group of individuals and companies being scrutinized.

As if anyone, let alone China or Burisma, would pay Hunter Biden millions of dollars without an expectation that it would influence his father. Over in the WaPo, in the context of paragraphs relating to Hunter's dealings with Chinese government-controlled energy company CEFC, we have this:

The Post did not find evidence that Joe Biden personally benefited from or knew details about the transactions with CEFC. . . .

The funny thing is that outside the sole exception of the Biden family, large payments to the children of powerful government officials by those with interests potentially affected by those officials' actions are universally understood to be corrupt efforts to influence the officials. In cases involving people other than the Bidens, whether the official/parent "personally benefited" from the payments or "knew details" of the transactions are considered completely irrelevant.

I guess we'll never know.

What else needs to be said? Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia gets straight to the point. When there is no fear of God, everything is permitted.


Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Monthly Archives