The Daily Dose: Europe in danger of lockdown return; How Pinterest kept COVID-19 misinformation out of its platform.

Stock and bond markets aren’t the be all and end all of understanding the world around us. That being said, they can often be interesting sources of information about sentiment. Going from that premise, the activity in global markets should give pause. They’re screaming about concerns that the COVID-19 situation in Europe is deteriorating quickly and decisively. Per Reuters, “European stocks were headed for their worst fall in three months on Monday as fears that a second wave of COVID-19 infections would lead to new social distancing measures hit travel and leisure shares and banks amid a new dirty money scandal.” This comes on the heels of a top British public health experts warning that cases in the United Kingdom could easily rise to 50,000 a day in a matter of weeks. If bond markets begin to wobble, look out. They tend to be considered more reliable indicators than their stock counterparts. https://reut.rs/3mHQnFV

Not all social media platforms have become cancerous sources of COVID-19 misinformation the way Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Twitter and Reddit have. Pinterest has somehow kept conspiracy theories and unverified coronavirus claims to negligible levels. The company’s DNA provides some insight as to how they’ve managed it. Per STAT News, “Unlike Facebook, which has separate teams for safety and health, Pinterest considers public safety and individual or community health to be two sides of the same coin. Its health misinformation policy states that any content that could result in immediate, negative effects on someone’s health or on the safety of the general public has no place on the platform. There are no exceptions for prominent political leaders or celebrities.” Mark Zuckerberg et al. appear more predatory by the day. https://bit.ly/3cgL2k5

Public health experts in Hong Kong have managed to single out a small group of superspreaders who were involved in an inordinate number of new infections. Per Nature, “An estimated 19% of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Hong Kong seeded 80% of the local transmission of the virus from one person to another, according to an analysis of the virus’s early spread. The analysis also found that viral spread in social settings caused more infections than spread within family households.” Musicians who performed at four Hong Kong bars are believed to have triggered the biggest cluster, which led to 106 cases. https://go.nature.com/33PgaTF

Every few years, some reprehensible soul decides that it’s a good idea to try to kill someone — often a public figure — with the chemical agent ricin. News reports indicate that a new incident has occurred. “A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.” If true, this plays into the Trump Administration’s narrative that what America needs now is a law and order president. Either way, the news is disconcerting. https://bit.ly/3kB1Jtf

Scientists have found some of the largest examples of sperm ever found. According to Science, “A newfound collection of ostracods preserved in amber reveals that megasperm dates back to at least about 100 million years ago during the time of the dinosaurs, researchers report online September 16 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. A tangle of sperm found inside a female is among the oldest, if not the oldest, fossilized sperm ever found.” We’ll just leave it at that. https://bit.ly/3mJqbuC

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


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