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Coronavirus baby bust?

Early in the pandemic, people started speculating about potential effects on birth rates. I started talking about news and research that asked the question, “Will coronavirus cause a baby boom, or is that just a myth?” At the time, I ended with a not-so-satisfying “we’ll know in about 9 months.”

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Coronavirus baby bust?
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Uncertainty is a funny thing: musings on wildfire and COVID

It’s a cliché at this point for news articles to compare COVID spread to a wildfire. But the start of meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere this past week coincides with the start of the north American wildfire season, and COVID still rages across the planet, so bear with me a moment for another take on this metaphor. 

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Uncertainty is a funny thing: musings on wildfire and COVID
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One country’s problem, nobody’s problem, everybody’s problem

When we think about massive migrations and humanitarian crises in the last five to ten years, we probably first picture the migrant waves caused by the conflict in Syria that started in 2011. After 10 years of civil war, 6.6 million people have been forced out of that country, and, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 6.7 million more remain internally displaced. More than 90% of Syrian migrants have found refuge in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Migrants also flee to European countries like Greece, Germany, and Sweden. This unfortunate and sad episode of human suffering might eclipse the second largest migratory movement and humanitarian crisis of recent years: the Venezuelan diaspora.

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One country’s problem, nobody’s problem, everybody’s problem
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Found in translation

We were songbirds, we were Greek Gods

We were singled out by fate

We were quoted out of context – it was great.

Prefab Sprout, “Electric guitars”
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Found in translation
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Did Hamlet wish for better data?

To open or not to open? that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Did Hamlet wish for better data? 

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Did Hamlet wish for better data?
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Data for whom? Being mindful of racial disparities

As the United States makes progress towards a state of “normality,” the country has set an incredible pace for vaccine production and distribution. But what information is lost in the big picture?

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Data for whom? Being mindful of racial disparities
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Missing the evidence

A story in the Guardian on February 28 is headlined Pfizer vaccine may be less effective in people with obesity, says study. As the story says, the ‘study’ in question is a preprint. That’s not necessarily a problem; preprints have been a valuable source of up-to-date information during the Covid pandemic, at least when used with care.

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Missing the evidence
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How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics

Logical versus emotional motives. Perceptions versus observed numbers. We are always facing a fight between two sides of the same coin. When we feel anxious, scared, or worried, we look for certainty. Several examples arise in day-life activities. 

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How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics
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Is early treatment for COVID-19 possible?

The current Brazilian government has been prolific in atypical practices since its coming to power in 2019. The handling of issues related to the current COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.  This post addresses recent government announcements related to the pandemic and the ensuing reactions it arose. 

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Is early treatment for COVID-19 possible?
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The role of science in the news (and elsewhere)

I’ve got a few questions: 1) Has there ever been a time when scientific publications were as widely discussed in the news as they were last year? 2) How did COVID change the way people think about science? and 3) How did science change the way people think about politics?

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The role of science in the news (and elsewhere)