Saturday round up: Of vaccines, liars, Snarks and housing

Let’s appreciate it just for once

Everyone ‘s going out again to pubs and shops and markets, and telling each other “the vaccines are coming-everything will be alright!” As Mr Gary Herbert points out, the sheer amount of slog, not only to design, but also test, regulate and distribute your vaccine is truly mind crunching. So before we take it all for granted, as if we were spoiled children, he has tipped us this article by Sam Fazell of Bloomberg which gives some idea of the hours so many superb professionals put in. Thanks.

How AstraZeneca-Oxford Can Recover From Thieir Covid-19 Vaccine Stumble – Bloomberg

Nature too have this on the same theme-a bit more of it!

Developing COVID-19 vaccines in record time is an eye-watering accomplishment — but it’s still just the beginning. Hospitals and health workers — who are, in some places, overwhelmed and exhausted — are needed to administer them. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, who make up a significant chunk of health-care and care-home workers, have been left out of clinical trials. Similarly, there are no data on how the front-running vaccines affect children under 12. STAT explores the challenges that must be overcome to make the most of the spectacular scientific achievements of vaccine-makers.STAT | 23 min read

Knowledge is a dangerous thing

So many of us take freedom of enquiry for granted, Yet in some countries being a scientist can cost you your life, if the regime doesn’t like you. Here is the latest instalment in the ongoing saga of Ahmadreza Djalali, who has fallen foul of the regime in Iran. Nature‘s intro and Guardian link says it all-but of you want to help, perhaps your country’s Overseas Ministry (here we call it the Foreign Office) might be pressured.

A medical researcher who was under threat of imminent execution in Iran has been granted a reprieve, reports The Guardian. Physician–scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, a scholar in disaster medicine who has dual Iranian–Swedish nationality, was sentenced to death in Iran three years ago on a charge of spying. Sweden, the United Nations and the global scientific community have pressured Iran to re-examine his case. It is not known whether the stay of execution is temporary or could lead to release, perhaps via a prisoner swap like the one that led to last month’s release of British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert.The Guardian | 5 min read
Read more: Alarm as execution looms for scientist on death row in Iran (Nature | 4 min read)

Why waste time spotting liars?

There’s so few of them about! Particularly in fields like finance, politics and on the internet. If however you want a field guide as to how to spot this rare species. then Cody Porter has some insights in The Conversation

Spotting liars is hard – but our new method is effective and ethical (theconversation.com)

If it’s broken-fix it

We have always maintained that the chief guarantor of political stability in Britain after the second world war was the twenty-five year mortgage. It produced a new class with a stake in their society; Mrs Thatcher‘s council house sales of the nineteen eighties merely extended the tradition. Now in 2020 our housing market is drawn out to breaking by inequality. A whole new generation of discontented renters is rising, prime material for the attentions of revolutionaries and destabilisers. Here’s Matthew Thompson of The Conversation. And we bet this is not just a British problem either.

Public housing needs radical reform: here’s how (theconversation.com)

Quote of the week, chosen by Dr SP Day

In this age of liars and people who keep denying plain facts, we think this quote from the Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll, is entirely apposite:

Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.

We have taken the lines from Wikiquote: Here is the reference

The Hunting of the Snark – Wikiquote

That’s quite enough for a busy weekend!

#covid-19 #sars-cov-2 #coronavirus #vaccine #astrazenecaoxford #Ahmadreza Djalali #iran #ukhousing #liars #lewiscarroll

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