Monday, November 30, 2020
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Health: A Resurgence of Measles

The Story: Though there exists a safe, proven, and inexpensive vaccine for measles, it is a disease that is spreading in much of the world. UNICEF and the WHO recently issued a joint call for action on this front, estimating that at least US$255 million is needed to address immunity gaps in what are called non-Gavi eligible countries. Significance: "Gavi" stands for...

Biden’s Choice for the Secretary of State

Biden accusations spark conversation on personal space, affection, and PC culture
The Story: Joseph Biden, President Elect, announced this weekend that he will nominate Antony Blinken, a veteran of the Clinton and Obama administration, for his leading cabinet post, that of Secretary of State. Blinken's resume was immediately and widely discussed as possible evidence that the Biden administration will have a centrist, not-especially-progressive orientation, full of familiar faces from those two...

Health: Poaching and Epidemics

The Story: One of the less noticed side effects of the global pandemic has been an increase in poaching: the illicit killing of specimens of protected animal species and the trade in their corpses or body parts, often across national borders. Significance: In Uganda, for instance, ecotourism is a critical part of the economy. People come from around the world to see...

Perdue/Ossoff Runoff in Georgia

 The Story: US Senator David Perdue (R), of Georgia, completing his first term in the Senate, is engaged in a campaign to determine whether he will have a second and, as noted yesterday, this is one of two runoffs in that state that will together determine which party will organize the Senate for the next two years.  His opponent is...

Health: The Ethics of Infecting Volunteers

The Story: Most drugs -- both vaccines and therapeutics -- are accepted as safe and effective without ever having to prove themselves in "human challenge" trials. A human challenge trial -- in which a volunteer is vaccinated, then immediately exposed to the disease, in order to see how effectively the vaccine protects him -- is disfavored for obvious reasons. The...

Loeffler/Warnock Runoff in Georgia

The Story: Voters in Georgia will decide the next occupant of both of their seats in the US Senate in twin run-off elections, on January 5, 2021. This post shall speak of the runoff between Kelly Loeffler (R) and Raphael Warnock (D). Tomorrow we will have something to say about the other race. Background: As of this writing, Democrats will be filling...

Health: The Roads Themselves are Air Pollutants

The Story: When scientists recently looked at all the known sources of air pollution in the Los Angeles metro area (including of course automotive emissions) and compared that the the known quantities of pollutants in the air: it didn't add up. Some source was missing. A team of researchers then proposed that the missing source was right underneath those missing...

Speculation about Janet Yellen: Biden’s Treasury Secretary?

The Story: We have entered a period of intense speculation about the composition of the incoming administration's cabinet. One of the rumored choices is especially intriguing: Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve Board (2014-18) may be asked to served as the next Secretary of the Treasury. Background: The Federal Reserve is the US central bank. Precisely because money supply and...

Health: Covid-19, Blood Thinner, and Race

The Story: Treatment of Covid-19 often requires the use of a blood thinner, because clotting is a common symptom. But according to a new analysis of the effects of different blood thinners on patients with Covid-19, a blood thinner more likely to be given to Caucasian patients is statistically associated with fewer complications and superior results compared to the alternative...

A Key Strategist for Boris Johnson Takes His Leave

Boris Johnson, The Britain Trump | All In | MSNBCvideo
The Story: Dominic Cummings, a political strategist often described as the brains behind the rise of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has left Johnson's administration. It was a very public departure: on Friday, November 13, he walked out of the front door of 10 Downing Street with a cardboard box under his arms, in front of banks of photojournalists. Background: In 2015 and...