A weekly summary of things we think you might like to know
Is there any future for progressive politics? Earlier this week we published our thoughts on the future of Britain’s Labour Party. Now Dominic Sandbrook covers almost the same ground for the Mail. Why is this important? Because progressive politics are in deep decline in so many countries, not just in the UK. Read it and ask yourself these questions: What real human needs do progressive ideas address? Who do progressives represent? Are graduates really cleverer than school leavers, or do both groups know a lot about different things?
Vaccines go on getting better and better One goal for progressives might be to control Malaria,which has been a curse for milennia. Efforts so far have always been partial, or had unexpected consequences, like DDT. Now there is real hope that a vaccine may at last be getting ahead. Here’s Nature, a glimmer of hope……….
|A malaria vaccine called R21 has proved to be 77% effective at preventing the disease in children in a small, early trial. There is one approved malaria vaccine — GlaxoSmithKline’s RTS,S vaccine — but this jab is the first to reach the World Health Organization’s goal of at least 75% efficacy. R21 has been in the works for several years, and it informed the development of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which came out of the same group at the University of Oxford. Large-scale phase III trials to prove the vaccine’s safety and efficacy are still to come, but this offers hope for a disease that kills 1,200 people each day, mostly children under 5.BBC | 4 min read|
Read more: Building a better malaria vaccine (Nature | 12 min read, from 2019)
Reference: The Lancet pre-print
Beware all or none thinking You can always spot someone who’s going to get it wrong because they oversimplify. You see it every walk of life from politics to public health. One example is from human evolution: how could a small, arboreal ape have decided to step down from the tree and start a new life on the ground without being eaten by lions? The answer is-it didn’t. Early ancestors were mosaic species, living partly in the trees and partly on the ground.Some slowly opened up the ground habitat over more and more generations.When did malaria kick in, though? Nature: Bipedalism didn’t stop us from climbing trees
An analysis of the shoulder girdle of a human ancestor that lived millions of years ago suggests that Australopithecus afarensis retained features that helped it to climb in trees, even after developing the ability to walk on two legs. The shoulder blades belong to a near-complete fossil of a specimen dubbed Little Foot, discovered in South Africa in the 1990s. “We see incontrovertible evidence in Little Foot that the arm of our ancestors at 3.67 million years ago was still being used to bear substantial weight during arboreal movements in trees,” says anatomist Kristian Carlson.Heritage Daily | 5 min read
Reference: Journal of Human Evolution paper
Green Islands A lovely video story of how Denmark is developing windfarms and sustainable energy products on artifical islands. Notice to language teachers- just the sort of teaching material that will get your students learning from Intermediate right up to the most Advanced.
#labourparty #left #keirstarmer #vaccine #malaria #humanevolution #littlefoot #renewables #windfarms