By Peter Kujawinski, Photos and video by Pat Kane,
It takes hours of flying across Canada’s vast, trackless north to reach Yellowknife, a small city on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake — one of the deepest and largest lakes in the world. The region is as remote as it is pristine. But travelers are drawn here from around the world to witness the splendor of the aurora borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights.
Paura del contagio da superfici, oggetti, tastiere di computer, borse della spesa, abiti… Una certa giustificazione c’è: ottimi lavori scientifici dimostrano che, in condizioni sperimentali controllate, il maledetto SARS-CoV-2 riesce a sopravvivere per un certo tempo. E tuttavia, la probabilità di infettarsi toccando superfici, tastiere, maniglie, sedili è infinitamente piccola, risibile nella vita reale.
Donato Greco è nato a Napoli il 24 aprile 1947. Laureato in Medicina e Chirurgia nel 1971, ha conseguito tre specializzazioni in: Malattie Infettive e Tropicali (1974); Igiene e Medicina Preventiva (1977); Statistica Sanitaria (1982). All’estero ha conseguito i seguenti titoli: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Certificate on Epidemiology and Biostatistics (1974); Centers for Disease Control, Epidemiology Intelligence Service Course, Atlanta, USA (1975); WHO, International Course on Tropical Diseases, Surveillance and Control, Moscow, Prague, Geneva, Alexandria (1977).
Questo articolo è un post del blog di Erin Bromage, professore associato di biologia all’università del Massachusetts di Dartmouth, specializzato in immunologia. Da quando è stato pubblicato, il 6 maggio, è stato visto più di tredici milioni di volte.
Sappiamo che la maggior parte dei contagi si verifica nelle abitazioni: di solito una persona contrae il covid-19 all’esterno e lo porta in casa, dove i contatti prolungati con i familiari favoriscono la trasmissione.
Ma quali sono i contesti esterni in cui è più facile essere infettati? Sento parlare spesso dei supermercati, delle passeggiate in bicicletta e dei runner sconsiderati che non indossano le mascherine… Ma davvero sono queste le situazioni a rischio? In realtà non è così. Mi spiego. Read More
Las epidemias son producto de la urbanización. Cuando hace alrededor de cinco mil años los seres humanos comenzaron a agruparse en ciudades con densidad poblacional, las infecciones lograron afectar simultáneamente a grandes cantidades de personas y sus efectos mortales se multiplicaron. El peligro de pandemias como la que nos afecta en la actualidad surgió cuando el proceso de urbanización de la población se hizo global. Si aplicamos este razonamiento a la evolución de la producción ganadera en el mundo las conclusiones son realmente inquietantes. En el espacio de cincuenta años la ganadería industrial ha “urbanizado” una población animal que previamente se distribuía entre pequeñas y medianas granjas familiares. Las condiciones de hacinamiento de dicha población en macro-granjas convierten a cada animal en una suerte de potencial laboratorio de mutaciones víricas susceptible de provocar nuevas enfermedades y epidemias. Esta situación es todavía más inquietante si consideramos que la población global de ganado es casi tres veces más grande que la de seres humanos. En las últimas décadas, algunos de los brotes víricos con mayor impacto se han producido por infecciones que, cruzando la barrera de las especies, han tenido su origen en las explotaciones intensivas de ganadería.
Face-to-face social interactions enhance well-being. With the ubiquity of social media, important questions have arisen about the impact of online social interactions. In the present study, we assessed the associations of both online and offline social networks with several subjective measures of well-being. We used 3 waves (2013, 2014, and 2015) of data from 5,208 subjects in the nationally representative Gallup Panel Social Network Study survey, including social network measures, in combination with objective measures of Facebook use. We investigated the associations of Facebook activity and real-world social network activity with self-reported physical health, self-reported mental health, self-reported life satisfaction, and body mass index. Our results showed that overall, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with well-being. For example, a 1-standard-deviation increase in “likes clicked” (clicking “like” on someone else’s content), “links clicked” (clicking a link to another site or article), or “status updates” (updating one’s own Facebook status) was associated with a decrease of 5%–8% of a standard deviation in self-reported mental health. These associations were robust to multivariate cross-sectional analyses, as well as to 2-wave prospective analyses. The negative associations of Facebook use were comparable to or greater in magnitude than the positive impact of offline interactions, which suggests a possible trade-off between offline and online relationships.
Although England has an established church, few of us today pay it much mind. We follow an even more powerful religion, around which we have oriented our lives: economics. Think about it. Economics offers a comprehensive doctrine with a moral code promising adherents salvation in this world; an ideology so compelling that the faithful remake whole societies to conform to its demands. It has its gnostics, mystics and magicians who conjure money out of thin air, using spells such as “derivative” or “structured investment vehicle”. And, like the old religions it has displaced, it has its prophets, reformists, moralists and above all, its high priests who uphold orthodoxy in the face of heresy.
There are crimes without victims and crimes without criminals. Financial crime belongs to the second type, as responsibilities for crises, crashes, bubbles, misconduct, or even fraud, are difficult to establish. The historical process that led to the disappearance of offenders from the financial sphere is fascinating.
In the Christian consciousness love for money was seen as a repugnant signal of greed and an obstacle to salvation: “No one can serve two masters: you cannot serve both God and Money”. This biblical precept, however, was accompanied by the ambiguous command: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. St Francis was well aware of the threat hidden behind this dictum, as Christians might interpret it as a justification to establish the separate kingdom of Mammon. Usurers, however, were deemed ‘financial sinners’, offenders whose earnings relied upon the exploitation of time, their finances being valorized through deferral. This was a sacrilege: time belongs to God. Eventually usury was able to move freely in the Christian conscience when, as historian Jacques Le Goff suggests, the invention of Purgatory made it a venial and redeemable sin.
There were no sinners or criminals behind the financial bubble caused by the Dutch ‘tulip mania’ in the late 1630s, when a bulb of the magnificent semper augustus reached the value of a Rembrandt’s painting. Nor was any form of criminal activity detected in similar crises occurring in Paris and London, where at most the culprits were identified as gullible investors who thought they could amass wealth overnight. Whether buying flowers or stocks, investors were the victims of ineluctable natural causes, calamities that they attracted onto themselves through their own idiocy and, as Jeremy Bentham explained, no legislation can be designed to protect idiots.
Later we keep encountering crises, not sins, let alone crimes. The UK Bubble Act 1720 attempted to regulate financial practices and prevent manias. But after it was repealed in 1825, railways, robber barons, and crooks became the protagonists of the century. The collapse of the Royal British Bank and the Tipperary Bank occurred while, across the ocean, the careers of legendary tycoons such as Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller were in full swing. Smaller operators or petty embezzlers were targeted, while leading businessmen were condoned. Those described as villains managed to establish a reputation as generous philanthropists, and as the wealthy Christians of the past atoned through monetary donations, the new rich set up charitable organizations. The blame for financial criminality shifted more decisively towards its victims, namely imprudent and insatiable investors who engaged in what were blatantly fraudulent initiatives.
Blaming the victims continued for decades, leading some commentators to equate financial crime to rape, and Positivist criminologists to coin the term ‘criminaloid’. How many ‘criminaloids’ were responsible for the crisis of 1929 is hard to tell. When Wall Street collapsed it became clear that innovative financial strategies had mingled with unlawful schemes, creating openings for adventurers and swindlers. In criminology the concept of ‘white-collar crime’ was forged, and offenders of high social status and respectability were finally included among its objects of study. John Maynard Keynes, who lost a remarkable portion of his investments during the crisis, described it as one of the greatest economic catastrophes of modern history, a colossal muddle showing how easy it is to lose control of “a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand”.
The Marshal Plan activated after WW2 helped to rebuild the economy in some European countries, but simultaneously gave rise to illicit appropriation of large sums and the creation of slush funds financing political parties loyal to the USA.
The names of Drexel, Milken, Maxwell, and Leeson marked the 1980s and 1990s, when the prosecution of some conspicuous villains did not alter the perception that criminal imputations in the financial sphere are inappropriate. This sphere, it was intimated, contains its own regulatory mechanism allowing for the harmless co-existence of self-interested actors. WorldCom, Enron, Parmalat and Madoff belong to the current century, which reveals how regulatory mechanisms are sidelined by networks of greed involving bankers, politicians, and auditors.
The 2008 crisis, finally, proves how specific measures aimed at avoiding future crises are criticized or rejected in the name of market freedom. Commenting on the crisis, Andrew Haldane, an Executive Director of the Bank of England, inadvertently reiterated Keynes’ notion that knowledge of the financial world is poor and that not criminals but individuals immersed in uncertainty populate it: mistakes are made, but they are ‘honest’, not fraudulent mistakes, and anyone could make them given how uncertain that world is.
When the Panama Papers were released, rather than uncertainty, one certainty came to light: crimes without criminals occur in grey areas where tax evasion, bribes, money laundering, and all other forms of ‘dirty money’ constitute the hidden wealth of nations.