The political and economic effects of the new coronavirus – both in China and across the globe – hinge overwhelmingly on just how successful efforts to stop its spread are likely to be. Forecasting these, therefore, requires us to take a closer look at the mechanics of both contagion and containment. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
The biggest political and economic effects of pandemics come from public panic and panicked government responses, not the disease itself. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
As a scientist who has spent time in the business world, I am continually shocked by how some of the greatest business minds are susceptible to pseudoscience and magical thinking.
In a way, it’s not surprising. Businesspeople, and CEOs in particular, must be relentlessly optimistic. When investors are scarce and revenues are dwindling, it is a survival strategy. That probably explains why executives often recommend fluffy self-help books — it’s sort of like the prosperity gospel for entrepreneurs. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
The ongoing measles outbreaks across the United States and Europe prove definitively that our personal choices affect everybody around us. Although you have a right to your own body, your choice to willfully be sick ends where another’s right to be healthy begins. For that reason, people who “opt out” of vaccines should be opted out of American society. Read the rest at Scientific American.
In May 2015, Pope Francis issued an encyclical with the subtitle “On Care for Our Common Home.” The letter addressed various environmental issues, such as pollution and climate change, and it reminded all of us that we are to steward the Earth, not plunder it.
The Pope’s missive demonstrates that he is both theologically sound and scientifically literate, a very rare combination. That is why he should now author an encyclical urging the world to embrace the life-giving promise of biotechnology.
Read the rest at Leaps Magazine.
The State of Washington has declared an emergency because of a measles outbreak in Clark County, which is across the river from Portland, Oregon. To the surprise of no one, the outbreak has occurred, almost exclusively, among the unvaccinated. The motivation of those who refuse to vaccinate their children—whether it is fear, ideology, or thoughtlessness—is irrelevant. They are putting the safety of thousands of people at risk. Read the rest at Newsweek.
The United States is being hit by two large foodborne illness outbreaks — first, the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce, and now a salmonella outbreak in beef that has sickened more than 200 people. These high-profile cases underscore the inadequacy of the safety measures meant to protect our food supply. If we are serious about addressing this issue, we must implement food irradiation. Read the rest at USA Today.
La Croix, a popular and “naturally” flavored sparkling water distributed by the National Beverage Corp., has been sued for including synthetic ingredients, among them a cockroach insecticide. This is yet another example of trial lawyers using junk science in an attempt to score a jackpot verdict, and the outcome of the trial has implications for local beverage companies, such as Talking Rain and even Starbucks. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
The University of Washington has just released a study that boldly declares there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. If true, this would have a profound impact on the Washington state wine industry. But is it true? Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
Seattle faces a public health catastrophe if King County and the Seattle City Council don’t deal with the squalid conditions at the city’s homeless encampments. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.