Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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The short-term, middle-term, and long-term future of the coronavirus

Andrew Joseph and Helen Branswell write: When experts envision the future of the coronavirus, many predict that it will become a seasonal pathogen that won’t be much more than a nuisance for most of us who have been vaccinated or previously exposed to it. But how long that process takes — and how much damage the virus inflicts in the interim — is still anyone’s guess. “The most predictable thing

We can’t curb the presidency without fixing Congress

David Frum writes: “The constitutional Presidency … has become the imperial Presidency.” The historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. delivered that complaint in 1973, just ahead of a wave of reforms that sought to cut the presidency down to size. The War Powers Act of 1973, the Anti-Impoundment Act of 1974, the creation of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in the mid-1970s: These and other measures aimed to restrain the presidency

A vexing question for Democrats: What drives Latino men to Republicans?

The New York Times reports: Erik Ortiz, a 41-year-old hip-hop music producer in Florida, grew up poor in the South Bronx, and spent much of his time as a young adult trying to establish himself financially. Now he considers himself rich. And he believes shaking off the politics of his youth had something to do with it. “Everybody was a liberal Democrat — in my neighborhood, in the Bronx, in

Tim Wu’s appointment to the National Economic Council signals a confrontational approach to Big Tech

The New York Times reports: President Biden on Friday named Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor, to the National Economic Council as a special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy, putting one of the most outspoken critics of Big Tech’s power into the administration. The appointment of Mr. Wu, 48, who is widely supported by progressive Democrats and antimonopoly groups, suggests that the administration plans to

We can’t plant or log our way out of climate change

Danna Smith writes: CNN published an opinion piece on Feb. 10 with the headline, “Plant trees, sure. But to save the climate, we should also cut them down.” This piece omitted some vital facts and science. While the piece did not call for a broad expansion of logging, I think it’s important for readers to understand these facts. Industrial logging and wood production are major drivers of climate disruption. The

AI is killing choice and chance – which means changing what it means to be human

AI promises to make life easier, but what will humans lose in the bargain? AP Photo/Frank Augstein By Nir Eisikovits, University of Massachusetts Boston and Dan Feldman, University of Massachusetts Boston The history of humans’ use of technology has always been a history of coevolution. Philosophers from Rousseau to Heidegger to Carl Schmitt have argued that technology is never a neutral tool for achieving human ends. Technological innovations – from

That is not how your brain works

Lisa Feldman Barrett writes: As a neuroscientist, I see scientific myths about the brain repeated regularly in the media and corners of academic research. Three of them, in particular, stand out for correction. After all, each of us has a brain, so it’s critical to understand how that three-pound blob between your ears works. Myth number one is that specific parts of the human brain have specific psychological jobs. According

Music: Jarrod Lawson — ‘I’ll Be Your Radio’ (ft. Moonchild)

 

Countries with highest levels of obesity have most Covid deaths, report finds

The Guardian reports: Countries with high levels of overweight people, such as the UK and the US, have the highest death rates from Covid-19, a landmark report reveals, prompting calls for governments to urgently tackle obesity, as well as prioritising overweight people for vaccinations. About 2.2 million of the 2.5 million deaths from Covid were in countries with high levels of overweight people, says the report from the World Obesity

In Palm Beach, Covid-19 vaccines intended for rural Black communities are instead going to wealthy white Floridians

STAT reports: The winds blew southwest the day of Pahokee’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, which meant the sugarcane fields were ablaze. Growers are banned from burning excess leaves when there’s an eastward breeze, to keep fumes away from the gated communities of Florida’s Gold Coast 40 miles away. Pahokee is in the same county but, with a median personal income of $13,674, its residents live in a different world. A single

Climate activist who took on BlackRock now takes aim at Vanguard

Bloomberg reports: Casey Harrell, the campaigner whose sustained pressure was instrumental in pushing BlackRock Inc. to act against climate change, approaches his work as if locked in a race against time. That was true even before the 42-year-old environmental activist was diagnosed last year with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Harrell’s latest effort, focused on Vanguard Group Inc., is likely to be his last. “My diagnosis

Some Oath Keepers say its founder has betrayed the group’s mission — and them

BuzzFeed News reports: In a recent indictment of nine people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, federal prosecutors went to great lengths to describe the magnitude of the day’s events, the alarming threat to democracy their actions posed, and the powerful influence that one charismatic leader had in shaping their beliefs. They took care, however, not to refer to that man by name. Instead, they refer to him as

In ‘exceedingly rare’ case, Iowa journalist faces charges from reporting on summer protests

USA Today reports: The trial of a Des Moines Register reporter who was arrested covering racial justice protests last summer is slated to begin next week in what experts said is a rare criminal prosecution of a journalist on assignment in the USA. Andrea Sahouri faces charges of failure to disperse and interference with official acts and is set to stand trial starting Monday. At least 126 journalists were arrested

He told the world about his brutal torture in Syria. Then, mysteriously, he went back

The Washington Post reports: With his gaunt frame, haunted face and copious tears, Mazen al-Hamada became a poster boy for the suffering of Syrian torture victims. After escaping from Syria to the Netherlands, he traveled widely, sharing with audiences across the United States and Europe stories of the horrors he endured in a Damascus prison. And then, mysteriously, inexplicably and perhaps suicidally, just over a year ago he returned to

Why Glenn Greenwald says Tucker Carlson is a true socialist

Jonathan Chait writes: Glenn Greenwald’s long intellectual journey from center left to far left to, well, somewhere is a subject of fascination in elite circles. Greenwald comes out of a tradition of progressive journalism that focused primarily on attacking liberals and the Democratic Party from the left. Like many progressives, he latched on to Bernie Sanders’s two presidential campaigns as a righteous crusade to liberate the Democratic Party from the

Music: Jarrod Lawson — ‘Universal Chord’