What I'm Reading (May 27)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — May 27, 2021
The virus from Wuhan, can something be "partly false," Skynet is increasing real, are fungi our friends, does our soul live within our network?
Image by Awais Mughal from Pixabay

“Cotton’s statements did not get any immediate coverage, but several days later David Choi at Business Insider wrote them up with the headline “Republican senator suggests ‘worse than Chernobyl’ coronavirus could've come from Chinese ‘superlaboratory.’”

Choi’s piece is one of those things that happens on the internet when the story is totally accurate but also doing a lot of sensationalization for clicks. What Cotton said at the hearing is that the Chinese government’s official story about the seafood market was wrong, which was something that was at the time also being floated in Vox and The New York Times and Science and the Lancet. Where Cotton differed from the consensus is that he attributed this to malice, which is not what the scientific articles said (but also isn’t a scientific question) and was not the NYT’s preferred interpretation of events.”

The belief that COVID-19 came from Wuhan’s lab, not its market, has returned and gained more credibility and traction. Perhaps it is worthwhile to understand better how it was pigeon-holed as a conspiracy theory rather than fact. This is useful if you want to be an intelligent consumer of news rather than an inattentive absorber. From Matt Yglesias, The media's lab leak fiasco

Fact-checking is an alternate way to describe debunking, something that has been in the wheelhouse of ACSH since its inception. For those that oppose our debunking, we are often described as corporate shills. We welcome Facebook to the fray. They, of course, have a much more significant problem because of their size and because they would like to claim no editorial license. 

“The “independent fact-checkers” of my article are affiliated with a nonprofit group called Science Feedback, which has partnered with Facebook in what it calls a “fight against misinformation.” The group describes itself as “nonpartisan,” a claim that I would label “Mostly False” after studying dozens of its fact-checks enforcing progressive orthodoxy on climate change and public health.”

I am not a fan of censorship; I believe sunshine is an excellent disinfectant. For me, the problem for Facebook is two-fold; first, authors are not held accountable for their words – you can be anonymous or your identity misappropriated. Second, Facebook's algorithms to keep you looking at ads are the same algorithms that put increasingly controversial information at your fingertips. Here from City Journal is the story of one of the articles caught in algorithmic censorship. This Article Is “Partly False

“New technologies — networking, Li-ion batteries, A.I., various biotech techniques, and so on — have led to bursts of innovation in a variety of fields. I’m a techno-optimist because I think these bursts will soon lead to accelerating productivity growth. But there’s one area where I’m worried about the impact of all these new toys: War. Military technology is a hugely important area of innovation, and yet it generally results in things getting blown up and society going to hell for a while.”

How will technology change war, from drones to hacking and more. From Noahpinion, The future of war is bizarre and terrifying

What do you and the Irish potato famine have in common? For those concerned with the next pandemic, stocking up on antibacterial and antivirals, perhaps, just perhaps you should widen your view to a quiet predator, mushrooming (pun intended) into prominence, fungi. 

“At some point in the first decade of the century, C. auris gained the ability to directly pass from person to person. It learned to live on metal, plastic, and the rough surfaces of fabric and paper. When the first onslaught of COVID created a shortage of disposable masks and gowns, it forced health-care workers to reuse gear they usually discard between patients, to keep from carrying infections. And C. auris was ready.”

Should we worry? Yes, but there may be a vaccine that involves genetic deletions and man’s best friend. From Scientific American, Deadly Fungi Are the Newest Emerging Microbe Threat All Over the World

When I find an article that I agree with, I always like to share it. This one, in particular, resonates with my physician and personal selves. Reductionism has taught us much; relationships also have brought much to our knowledge table. Networks, for me, tie our biochemistry, thoughts, and those “It takes a village ideas” together – I love when it all comes together.

“Relational views signal a paradigm shift from a reductive approach to one that seeks to recognise the complexity of the self. The network self view further develops this line of thought and says that the self is relational through and through, consisting not only of social but also physical, genetic, psychological, emotional and biological relations that together form a network self. The self also changes over time, acquiring and losing traits in virtue of new social locations and relations, even as it continues as that one self.”

From Aeon, You are a network

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

Recent articles by this author:
ACSH relies on donors like you. If you enjoy our work, please contribute.

Make your tax-deductible gift today!



Popular articles