Daily Digest 9/1 – Our ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted, The Classroom And COVID


Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful (Ed J.)

In those early months, I, along with most of the rest of the country, was using “surge capacity” to operate, as Ann Masten, PhD, a psychologist and professor of child development at the University of Minnesota, calls it. Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters. But natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different — the disaster itself stretches out indefinitely.

“The pandemic has demonstrated both what we can do with surge capacity and the limits of surge capacity,” says Masten. When it’s depleted, it has to be renewed. But what happens when you struggle to renew it because the emergency phase has now become chronic?

Why studying Chinese is in decline (tmn)

When Mr Johnson was declaring his Sinophilia, well-to-do parents saw Mandarin as a good investment in their children’s future. In 2015 Hatching Dragons (pictured), Britain’s first bilingual English-Mandarin nursery, opened its doors to 32 little linguists; it has since taught over 500 children, for around £1,881 a month per child. But Cennydd John, the nursery’s chief executive, laments that there is “almost no option” for children to continue their bilingual education once they leave at the age of five. Fewer than 3% of primary schools in England offer Mandarin.

As Guns Get Drawn at Protest Sites, Demonstrators Fear a Volatile New Phase (jdargis)

“For a lot of these folks, the attention is the endgame,” said the official, who said the same appeared true of many hard-line leftist antifa demonstrators. “If you really sat down and said, ‘What are the policy objectives you’d like to see?’ They wouldn’t want that because there’s so much that comes with this, like having your voice heard in these settings and validating you to other followers.”

Build state capacity by building charter cities (tmn)

To take a simple example, we can compare the efficiency of two governments building a road. All else equal, the government which was able to build the road more quickly would be said to have higher state capacity. Advocates of state capacity suggest that competence in building a road is correlated to other competencies in governance. A government that is good at building a road tends to also be good at building a bridge or even administering a vaccine. Thus, we can talk about state capacity as a singular thing, rather than state’s simply having discrete skills at certain tasks. Having this thing, state capacity, allows for the provision of public goods as well as fair and efficient dispute resolution. Indeed, it is one of the foundations of a successful society.

The Conscience of Silicon Valley (tmn)

He diagnosed me right away. “Well, so this is a delicate topic, and it’s often been difficult to talk about, but there’s some kinds of people who particularly get Twitter addictions and they’re often journalists—”

I laughed sadly. “And people who are addicted to Twitter are like all addicts—on the one hand miserable, and on the other hand very defensive about it and unwilling to blame Twitter.” (Shortly after this conversation, I quit Twitter for about three weeks. It was soothing. Actually, it was life-changing. As of this writing, for reasons I don’t understand—but also do, all too well, because of Lanier—I’m back on the platform. Please kill me.)

The classroom and COVID: Teachers say they want to be ‘treated as though we’re real people’ (jdargis)

Many teachers feel trapped. The tension in Arizona and around the nation is dredging up a conversation on teaching contracts that in a typical year ensure educators don’t renege too close to the start of the school year — thus leaving the district scrambling to find a replacement — by imposing fines, or threatening a temporary suspension or revocation of a teaching license.

But, as special education teacher Karen Oliver stressed when she spoke at the August school board meeting, this isn’t a typical year.

1 in 3 Black Americans knows someone who died of Covid-19. These stories capture the toll taken by the disease. (tmn)

For many Black Americans, the impacts of the pandemic are compounded. Many have one or more family members who have died of the disease on top of neighbors, friends, friends of friends, or others in their communities. Facebook feeds are full of posts announcing another death, another virtual funeral, another remembrance page.

“Every time you look up, there is another RIP post, or a friend seeking prayers for their loved one who is battling this cruel virus,” said Desha Hargrove of Detroit, who lost her husband to Covid-19 in March. “I am simply devastated at how this virus has mainly impacted our communities.”

Large U.S. covid-19 vaccine trials are halfway enrolled, but lag on participant diversity (tmn)

Creating vaccine trials that, at minimum, mirror the racial and ethnic breakdown of the American population, which is about one-third total Black, Hispanic and Native American, has been a major focus — a necessity to make sure any vaccine works for everyone and is broadly accepted. Current enrollment numbers lag even that target.

COVID‐19, cilia, and smell (000)

The mucociliary escalator removes inhaled pathogenic particles and functions as the first line of protection mechanism against viral infection in the human airway. Thus, future investigation into the virus–cilium interface will help further the battle against COVID‐19.

SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and patents (000)

In human beings, coronaviruses cause respiratory conditions, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, caused by the SARS-CoV virus, which hit several countries between November 2002 and July 2003; and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by the MERS-CoV virus, responsible for the virulent 2012 outbreak.

To date, only 7 strains of human coronaviruses are known. The last of them, the recently discovered in Wuhan (SARS-CoV-2), has turned out to belong to the Betacoronavirus genus, with a nucleotide sequence showing approximately 80% identity with the SARS-CoV virus sequence. The disease caused by this virus has been officially named COVID-19.

American Clinical Research Needs to Step Up Its Game Against Covid-19 (tmn)

Americans and American biomedical researchers have often prided themselves on conducting the best clinical research in the world. Yet with over six million Covid-19 cases and almost 183,00 deaths, the United States has produced little pathbreaking clinical research on treatments to reduce cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Even one of the most important U.S. studies to date, which showed that the antiviral drug remdesivir could reduce the time Covid-19 patients spent in the hospital to 11 days from about 15, had too few patients to demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in mortality.

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