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Covid-19 pandemic is not a ‘black swan’ author says; Governments should have been prepared

By Bernard Avishai Nassim Nicholas Taleb is “irritated,” he told Bloomberg Television on March 31, whenever the coronavirus pandemic is referred to as a “black swan,” the term he coined for an unpredictable, rare, catastrophic event, in his best-selling 2007 book of that title. “The Black Swan” was meant to explain why, in a networked […]

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The tragedy of Guayaquil and what it tells us about the coronavirus pandemic

By David Morrill On March 26, local news media reported the first bodies on the sidewalks of Guayaquil. Within the days, the international media, including the New York Times, the Guardian and the Washington Post were in town to share the lurid images with the world, revealing, they said, what impoverished Latin American countries had […]

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The parrots take charge in the land of tribes

By Ray Horsley In a different time, place, and dimension there was once a land of many tribes. Each one had a chief, many elders, and a large number of native peoples who were born to the tribe. These tribal leaders and their advisors had tremendous control over their people. Special permission had to be […]

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Covid-19 may be far less deadly than predicted but without good data we don’t know for sure

By John P. Ioannidis The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco. At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected […]

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Hey, parasite, what makes you feel superior to the coronavirus?

By John Keeble There is not much to be said about the latest coronavirus that is good, but maybe some good will come out of it. It may finally rock safety complacency and force the mass of people to face the fact that disaster can strike our whole species as surely as it struck the […]

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Coronavirus will change the way we live for years to come

By Enda Curran Every economic shock leaves a legacy. The deadly coronavirus will be no different. The great depression spurred a “waste not want not” attitude that defined consumer patterns for decades. Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic still haunts German policy. The Asia financial crisis left the region hoarding the world’s biggest collection of foreign […]

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How pandemics have made history

By Isaac Chotiner In his new book, Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present, Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus of history and the history of medicine at Yale University, examines the ways in which disease outbreaks have shaped politics, crushed revolutions, and entrenched racial and economic discrimination. Epidemics have also altered […]

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The coronavirus is another reminder that evolution always wins in the end

Reading yesterday’s post in CuencaHighLife in which Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch advises that 40% to 70% of the world’s population will contract the coronavirus confirmed my initial suspicion. I had the sense with the early reports that the media was downplaying the severity of this epidemic, working to avoid a panic. As it is, it […]

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