The Daily Dose: COVID-19 crisis intensifies in India; U.S. increases military spending during pandemic.

It seems as if every passing day brings more tragic news out of India. Today is no different. The Associated Press reports that “In addition to oxygen supplies running out, intensive care units are operating at full capacity and nearly all ventilators are in use. As the death toll mounts, the night skies in some Indian cities glow from the funeral pyres, as crematoria are overwhelmed and bodies are burned outside in the open air. On Monday, the country reported another 2,812 deaths, with roughly 117 Indians succumbing to the disease every hour — and experts say even those figures are likely an undercount. The new infections brought India’s total to more than 17.3 million, behind only the United States.” At this point there aren’t any signs that conditions will improve in the short-term. https://bit.ly/3no2pET


Despite the world struggling to survive during the global COVID-19 pandemic, some governments decided to significantly bolster their military spending. According to Al-Jazeera, “Global military expenditure rose by 2.6 percent to $1.98 trillion last year even as some countries reallocated their defence funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a report issued on Monday. The five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62 percent of military spending worldwide, were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom, in that order, according to the Sweden-based body.” Not surprisingly, the United States led the way. The country’s military expenditure reached an estimated $778bn last year, 4.4 percent more than in 2019. https://bit.ly/3vpIb0z


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There’s trouble brewing in General Relativity paradise, all thanks to a muon. Acoording to Nature, “Physicists should be ecstatic right now. Taken at face value, the surprisingly strong magnetism of the elementary particles called muons, revealed by an experiment this month, suggests that the established theory of fundamental particles is incomplete. If the discrepancy pans out, it would be the first time that the theory has failed to account for observations since its inception five decades ago — and there is nothing physicists love more than proving a theory wrong.” Bring on the String Theorists. https://go.nature.com/2PmRi2u


Finishing up, Science is reporting on yet another instance of our ancestors being more responsible caretakers of the Earth that we have. Per Science, “For decades, First Nations people in British Columbia knew their ancestral homes—villages forcibly emptied in the late 1800s—were great places to forage for traditional foods like hazelnuts, crabapples, cranberries, and hawthorn. A new study reveals that isolated patches of fruit trees and berry bushes in the region’s hemlock and cedar forests were deliberately planted by Indigenous peoples in and around their settlements more than 150 years ago. It’s one of the first times such ‘forest gardens’ have been identified outside the tropics, and it shows that people were capable of changing forests in long-lasting, productive ways.” Great. Meanwhile, humanity is racing to colonize new planets which we will undoubtedly destroy. https://bit.ly/32Q17cw

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


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