Science

What Kind of Life Are We Saving?

Bernard-Henri Lévy— The only debate that has truly engaged Europe and the United States is the one about the comparative vices and virtues of the Korean and Chinese, Thai or Singaporean, Confucian or liberal models for compelling people to meet health requirements. To their credit, a number of so-called learned

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The Mountains Are Calling—but Who Gets to Go?

Caroline Schaumann— In the Covid-Age, the value of nature runs high. Beaches and mountain trails are overrun with those seeking a respite from lockdowns and social restrictions in the cities, and campervan and RV life is surging in popularity. When Yosemite National Park reopened in early June, the precious few

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Slow Motion

Barry Perlus— Those in the Northern Hemisphere who have recently stepped outside just after nightfall to view Comet Neowise know that the window of time in which to view this current marvel is limited to a few hours before it disappears below the horizon. The apparent movement of celestial bodies—galaxies,

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Colonialism and the Plague in Manchuria

William C. Summers— Historical discourse on the development of non-Western countries is overwhelmingly framed in terms of colonialism and its aftermath. This is especially true in the case of medicine and public health. The role and conception of health and sickness have been invoked as central to both modernization and

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The Voyages of Joseph Banks

Toby Musgrave— As a young man Joseph Banks (he was knighted at the age of thirty-eight on 23 March 1781) undertook three voyages of scientific discovery. With his first, to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1776, he established a paradigm for the study of natural history as an integral component of

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Racial Health Disparities in America

Michelle A. Gourdine— In 2012, Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old boy dressed in a hoodie, carrying a bag of Skittles and iced tea while walking through a neighborhood where he “didn’t belong,” was approached and eventually shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a resident on “neighborhood watch.” Like so many African

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Do We Need More Google Cities?

Carlo Ratti— One of the lesser-known casualties of COVID-19 has been a new, large-scale urban development in Toronto, led by Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs. Several years in the making, the “Google City”—as it was sometimes dubbed in the media—ultimately came to a halt because of the ongoing recession, but

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Five Ways to Protect Democracy from Misinformation Online

Philip N. Howard— We need mandatory reporting on the ultimate beneficiaries of data. Citizens should easily be able to see which organizations are receiving and manipulating personal data. Social media companies should be able to report back to users on which advertisers, data-mining firms, and political consulting firms have made

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Pandemics and Farming Practices

John M. Marzluff— Charles Darwin started his treatise on natural selection by reminding readers of how human action has transformed domestic animals. Domestication occurs because artificial selection imposed by humans causes exceptionally rapid evolution. The domestic animals we house in agricultural settings also provide a new theater for the development

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Bird Migration and the Pandemic

Mike Unwin— It’s late May 2020, and I’m sitting in my small back garden on the south coast of England. As I write, Common Swifts are screaming overhead in breakneck flypasts around the neighborhood. These supremely aerial birds are among the last of some fifty Afro-Palearctic migrant species to reach

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