Tuesday, December 22, 2020

New Pandemics Still in Our Future

If you follow scientific news and blogs, the Covid-19 pandemic was not a surprise for you. It's been predicted for years and previous, smaller outbreaks of other diseases like MERS and SARS were just the preludes to the larger one of 2020.

However, Covid turned to be an oversized problem that it should have never been due to the crazy politics of 2020 and the lack of scientific approach in many countries, with USA being the worst example. The fact that a large chunk of population is openly anti-science, defying best practices and common sense, is not helping either. Finally, we saw how many people among us are not willing to sacrifice even a bit for common good, showing us the worst of humanity and selfishness that most of us never expected.

Unfortunately, while we are still dealing with this pandemic, the scientists are actively and diligently looking into the future to stop the next one:

Hunting for 'Disease X'

Knowing what's coming and how to fight it is the best insurance for our future. If we don't, the next virus could be more virulent and more deadly, making our current circumstances pale in comparison.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

2020 - The Year Sanity and Reason Died

Four years ago, when I realized that reason and sanity are under siege in the US and some other countries, I did not think that it could get any worse. Political polarization seemed like it had reached the unsustainable levels, misinformation from Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms was overwhelming and discussions with friends often resulted in hate and broken friendships.

Fast forward four years, a long and mentally taxing presidency and the pandemic, and we are in the place I have never imagined we could be.

In a short period of nine months from March to December, I have seen friends on line descending into madness and hate of unseen magnitudes. First, they started sharing small misinformation pieces, then they followed with larger, easily debunked conspiracy theories, to end the year with a total denial of reality on every level: science, reason and politics. Even worse, they attack anyone who does not agree with them on a personal level, suddenly employing racism and hate. 

While watching all this is heartbreaking and sad, it has also opened my eyes further into the world of antiscience and religious bigotry. One interesting observation I have made from all the interaction with such people is that the more religious people are on the outside, the more hate they seem to generate when dealing with opposing ideas and political views. I guess this should not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched religious fanatics for any period of time, but it is still hard to stomach when your closest friend are the source.

Interesting article describing the issue can be found here: The pandemic has destroyed friendships and divided families

Let's hope 2021 will be better and less stressful.