On the last Friday of each month I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.
“The biggest butterfly effect is how a horny college student wanting to rate girls caused the collapse of global democracy.” —@santiagomayer_
“Levels of scientific literacy among non-scientists doesn’t seem important until all of a sudden it does.” —@paulisci
“The [Federal Reserve Bank] can hike interest rates all it wants, it’s not going to make it rain in Brazil, open ports in China, find truck drivers in the UK, change covid-0 policies in Australia. Bet that the Fed will hike rates if you want, but don’t bet it will help this supply-driven inflation.” —@francesdonald
“Disinformation will always get more viral traffic than the truth, because disinformation comforts people that everything is connected and purposeful, while the truth is coldly random and offers little sense.” —@rothschildmd
The 2,000-year-old airborne disease theory that blinded Covid experts
In 1910, an American doctor, Charles Chapin, made a name for himself by proving pathogens could spread via exhaled droplets but he over interpreted his results.
His finding that pathogens could be “sprayborne” was accepted – wrongly – as proof that more general aerosol transmission did not exist.
Droplet borne infection freed us “from the specter of infected air – a specter which has pursued the race from the time of Hippocrates”, declared Dr Chapin at the time.
Policymakers and politicians also have a natural bias against the idea that diseases may be airborne, says Professor Jimenez — @jljcolorado
“Droplets and surfaces are very convenient for people in power – all of the responsibility is on the individual,” he said. “On the other hand, if you admit it is airborne, institutions, governments, and companies have to do something.”
Capitalism won’t save us from Covid, no matter what Boris Johnson might think — @MazzucatoM
Public funds spent on research and development are often more entrepreneurial – in the sense that governments are investing in the early, riskiest stages of health innovation, before any market is viable. This is part of the reason why companies were able to develop a Covid vaccine in record time. As a new report from the UK’s Industrial Strategy Council makes clear, the fast turnaround of Covid-19 vaccines would have been unthinkable without state involvement. Effective, “mission-oriented” government coordination – from industrial policy to investment in life sciences, strategic public procurement and public-private partnerships – has been key to the success story of Covid-19 vaccines.
Employees are drowning in network effects, by @rhappe
“People are suffocating under the weight of unchanging demands and expectations in a vastly more complex work environment. Instead of making life easier, it is driving up anxiety, distrust, and exhaustion while providing little emotional support, energy, or relief. To add insult to injury, they hear executives talk about ‘returning to work’ and feel completely unseen and unappreciated – because they have not only been working, they have been working through a pandemic.”