https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/02/loose-ends-155.php

Some Loose Ends for a Saturday afternoon/evening:

We’ve been so busy with the geopolitical and other news that we haven’t noted the apparent collapse of the Manhattan DA’s case against Donald Trump:

A pair of prosecutors leading the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump and his business empire have resigned. The exit of Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz on Wednesday followed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicating doubts to them about moving forward with the case, sources told the New York Times.

The New York Times reported that there has been a monthlong pause in the presentation of evidence to a grand jury.

The New Yorker is very glum about this news, saying the case against Trump is “all but over.”

The criminal prosecution of Donald Trump in his home town appears to be all but officially over, at least for now. . . Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz submitted their resignations after Bragg signalled that he lacked confidence in the historic case.  . . [A] source with knowledge of the probe said that, though Bragg might say it is ongoing, activity in the case has stopped.

In the world of social science, I’ve long doubted the findings of the famous “marshmallow test” that David Brooks has long liked to promote, and sure enough, a new study out of UCLA roasts the marshmallow hypothesis:

If your 4-year-old cannot resist eating the marshmallow in front of her, even though you promised more treats if she waits, is she headed for a lifetime of struggle? You’re not alone if you think so. For some 30 years, parents and scientists have turned to the marshmallow test to glean clues about kids’ futures. . .

But the latest Bing follow-up study, by a team of researchers that included Mischel, casts doubt that a preschooler’s response to a marshmallow test can predict anything at all about her future.

Following the Bing children into their 40s, the new study finds that kids who quickly gave in to the marshmallow temptation are generally no more or less financially secure, educated or physically healthy than their more patient peers. The amount of time the child waited to eat the treat failed to forecast roughly a dozen adult outcomes the researchers tested, including net worth, social standing, high interest-rate debt, diet and exercise habits, smoking, procrastination tendencies and preventative dental care, according to the study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

“With the marshmallow waiting times, we found no statistically meaningful relationships with any of the outcomes that we studied,” UCLA Anderson’s Daniel Benjamin, who brings expertise to the study that includes behavioral economics and statistical methodology, says in an interview.

Looks like Brooks will need to find some new material.

Can Europe survive without Russian natural gas? Here’s a data-rich article out of Europe from late last month (i.e., before hostilities commenced) that concludes:

Looking ahead, there are three scenarios:

  • If Russia and all other suppliers continue to supply at current levels, implying historically high levels of LNG imports, and natural gas demand remains in line with the 2015-2020 average, then EU-wide storage would hit a low of approximately 320 TWh in April 2022.
  • If Russia cuts supplies at the beginning of February, storage would reach a minimum level of 140 TWh in April 2022.
  • If, in addition to Russia cutting supply, the weather is extremely cold, then EU-wide storage will be empty by the end of March 2022.

Therefore, in the short-run and taking the EU as an aggregate, the bloc will likely be able to survive a dramatic disruption to Russian gas imports. . . But, should a halt of Russian gas be prolonged into the next winters, it would be more difficult for the EU to cope.

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