News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration. Church bells rang across the nation, and factories blew their whistles. “Polio routed!” newspaper headlines exclaimed. “An historic victory,” “monumental,” “sensational,” newscasters declared. People erupted with joy across the United States. Some danced in the streets; others wept. Kids were sent home from school to celebrate.

One might have expected the initial approval of the coronavirus vaccines to spark similar jubilation—especially after a brutal pandemic year. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the steady drumbeat of good news about the vaccines has been met with a chorus of relentless pessimism.

The problem is not that the good news isn’t being reported, or that we should throw caution to the wind just yet. It’s that neither the reporting nor the public-health messaging has reflected the truly amazing reality of these vaccines. There is nothing wrong with realism and caution, but effective communication requires a sense of proportion—distinguishing between due alarm and alarmism; warranted, measured caution and doombait; worst-case scenarios and claims of impending catastrophe. We need to be able to celebrate profoundly positive news while noting the work that still lies ahead. However, instead of balanced optimism since the launch of the vaccines, the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants, subjected to misleading debates about the inferiority of certain vaccines, and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do, while media outlets wonder whether the pandemic will ever end.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

With my braces and Sun In bleached bangs, I may have looked like every other teenager at my 1980s suburban junior high, but I knew something about me was different. I was thirteen when I first noticed myself acting in ways that resembled obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), though I wouldn’t have known to call it that at the time. It was the summer before ninth grade, the era of coming-of-age movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club. My girlfriends and I were obsessed with brat pack actors like Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Rob Lowe. We spent our babysitting money and allowances at the local Red Rooster, buying slushies (half Coke, half cream soda) and magazines. At sleepovers, we pored over Teen Beat and Bop, spending hours discussing what The Outsiders star Matt Dillon was looking for in a girl or deciding which actor’s shirtless centrefold we would hang in our locker once school started.

We rode our ten-speeds around our suburban Edmonton neighbourhood well past curfew, quizzing one another on the actors’ heights and favourite books. I could never remember my locker combination, but I knew, down to the inch, how tall Rob Lowe was. We took the number 33 bus to and from West Edmonton Mall to see St. Elmo’s Fire so many times we could essentially recite the whole movie. I imagine the bus driver was relieved when Weird Science came out later that summer: it gave us some new material to act out on the ride home.

I wouldn’t say loving John Hughes characters was obsessive behaviour, exactly—or at least no more obsessive than that of any other teen girl I knew. But I would bet a Judd Nelson glossy eight-by-ten that I was the only girl in my friend group who was both confused and troubled by the need to wake up several times a night to check on the pile of Teen Beats on her bedside table. My nighttime ritual consisted of making sure none of the magazines’ pages had accidentally folded over or been damaged during my pre-bedtime reading and stacking. I would lift each magazine up, inspect it to make sure it was in perfect shape, and replace it on the pile—which had to be in a certain corner of my nightstand, right between my Cabbage Patch Kids doll and Dr Pepper Lip Smacker.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

Photo Diary: A Little of Life Lately Autumn 2020

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The life of the mind is not as private as it used to be. Late last year, Chile’s parliament voted unanimously to adopt a new bill that enshrined “neuro-rights” for the country’s citizens by affording neuronal data the same status as donated organs, which are illegal to traffic or manipulate under the country’s constitution. This bill, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, could foreshadow a coming policy debate in the United States and elsewhere to tackle perhaps the most significant privacy and human rights question to arise since the dawn of the internet.

Functional neuroimaging was developed in the early 1990s, and now we have reached the point where researchers can decode the brain activity associated with certain mental states, allowing them to reconstruct what a person is seeing or what choice they are about to make with unprecedented precision. Other technological advances enable them to actually rewrite brain activity, allowing implanted brain electrodes to send pulses that alleviate the symptoms of disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, enable paraplegics to control robotic prosthetic limbs, and perform many other amazing feats.

Read the rest of this article at: NEO.LIFE

News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Onboard the Lu Lao Yuan Yu 010 were seven Chinese officers and a crew of four Gambians and thirty-five Senegalese. The Gambian team soon began grilling the ship’s captain, a short man named Qiu Shenzhong, who wore a shirt smeared with fish guts. Belowdecks, ten African crew members in yellow gloves and stained smocks stood shoulder to shoulder on either side of a conveyor belt, sorting bonga, mackerel, and whitefish into pans. Nearby, floor-to-ceiling rows of freezers were barely cold. Roaches scurried up the walls and across the floor, where some fish had been stepped on and squashed.

I spoke to one of the workers, who told me that his name was Lamin Jarju. Though no one could hear us above the deafening ca-thunkca-thunk of the machinery, he stepped away from the line and lowered his voice. The ship, he told me, had been fishing within the nine-mile zone until the Captain received a radioed warning from nearby ships that a policing effort was under way. When I asked Jarju why he was willing to reveal the ship’s violation, he said, “Follow me,” and led me up two levels to the roof of the wheel room, the Captain’s office. He showed me a large nest of crumpled newspapers, clothing, and blankets, where he said several crew members had been sleeping for the past several weeks, ever since the Captain hired more workers than the ship could accommodate. “They treat us like dogs,” Jarju said.

When I returned to the deck, an argument was escalating. A Gambian Navy lieutenant named Modou Jallow had discovered that the ship’s fishing logbook was blank. All captains are required to keep detailed accounts of where they go, how long they work, what gear they use, and what they catch. Jallow had issued an arrest order for the infraction and was yelling in Chinese. Captain Qiu was incandescent with rage. “No one keeps that!” he shouted back.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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News 08.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Lead psychologist Park Dae-ryeong says that this atmosphere, along with a poor job market, has put overwhelming pressure on people to perform, while disincentivising collaboration, discouraging the pursuit of passions and exacerbating feelings of inadequacy, disappointment and anxiety. Many young South Koreans compare their lives to running on a hamster wheel, because in order to get the suitable partner, the good job, the nice home, it feels like they can never take a break.

It doesn’t help that South Korean society’s concept of success is so rigidly defined. Counsellors at Lee Ah Dang explain that because hikikomori live outside the mainstream, they have often been subjected to some form of ostracism or marginalisation. They may have been bullied for low academic achievement, criticised for their shy personality, or pushed to conform to convention – and then rejected for failing to do so.

In Kim Ho-seon’s case, being more interested in hair and makeup than maths and science meant he didn’t get along well in secondary school and ended up dropping out. “It didn’t feel right doing things I didn’t want to do,” the 25-year-old says. After struggling with judgment and stigmatisation, he ended up calling the police to ask for help with his psychological problems.

Similarly, Yoo Seung-gyu, 27, says his goals didn’t live up to South Korea’s standards. He dreamed of being a content creator, he says, but was belittled until he lost all confidence. Lee Seung-taek, 24, says that not having any lofty plans for the future made him a social outcast. All he wanted was to earn a decent living and lead a simple life. But that wasn’t ambitious enough for everyone else – except for his father. When Lee was 16, his dad became ill, and in 2016 he died. “I became evasive. I ran away,” he says. “I could only achieve so much without my father, so why should I even try?”

For Kim Jae-ju, his retreat from public life came after the breakdown of a relationship. Before that, he was on the traditional road toward marriage and children and saw himself as a different person: outgoing, talkative, friendly. In retrospect, he now thinks it was all a show. Trying so earnestly to be the confident extrovert was just a way of covering up that, in truth, he was not. He began his withdrawal by turning down friends’ invitations to have dinner or drinks. That escalated to changing his phone number and not telling anyone but his family.

Finally, Kim says, he “crawled into his room” and entered seclusion. He gained 27 kilos and his skin became dotted with acne. His room deteriorated, too. Disposable noodle cups and empty bottles and cans collected in heaps. Ash and dust cloaked the furniture, and the once-white walls turned a dingy brown. Looking back on his confinement, Kim says he’s repulsed. “I started becoming complacent in there,” he says. “One day became two days, then three days, then a year. I started thinking, ‘Maybe this lifestyle is okay?’ And my new friends just became the computer inside my room.”

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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