The Daily Dose: Troubling trend in China resulting in dead and abandoned animals; Pfizer/BioNTech to supply Olympics vaccines.

In order for Japan to hold the summer Olympics, they’ll need to use every tool available to ensure the safety of the athletes, workers, and spectators. Vaccines are an obvious must in any strategy. The Japan Times is reporting that a deal has been struck. “U.S. drugs giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Thursday announced a deal with the International Olympics Committee to provide vaccines to competitors and staff at the Tokyo Games. In a statement, the firms said they would coordinate with national sporting bodies to make sure that coronavirus vaccines are available to anyone who needs one before traveling to Japan.”

The possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic may have had its roots in the virus making a leap from contact with a wild animal should have had Chinese citizens wary of random close contacts with the creatures. It appears as if nobody has learned their lessons. A popular new trend in China just makes you ask youself, “But why?” According to Sixth Tone, “Blind boxes — opaque gift boxes containing a mystery toy — have become hugely popular in China, with market leader Pop Mart valued as a billion-dollar company. Now, online vendors have begun offering a twist on the concept, by replacing the toy with a mystery pet. Since January, stores offering blind boxes containing all kinds of animals — including dogs, cats, turtles, and even spiders — have been active on e-commerce platforms Taobao and Pinduoduo. In most cases, buyers aren’t allowed to select a specific breed, nor return the animals.” This has resulted in hundreds of dead animals being found as a result of owners not wanting what came in their box.

We are a big fan of anything that legitimately puts more vaccines in people’s bodies, especially when it comes to COVID-19. News out of Russia indicates that they have approved the Sputnik V vaccine for single dose dosages. Per the South China Morning Post, “Health officials in Russia approved a single-dose version of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the developers of the shot said on Thursday. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which helped finance the vaccine, said in a statement that Sputnik Light “demonstrated 79.4 per cent efficacy” compared to 91.6 per cent for the two-shot Sputnik V.” Whatever works.

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The oldest example of human burial has been found in Africa. According to the paper published in Nature, “Here we describe the partial skeleton of a roughly 2.5- to 3.0-year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 thousand years ago, which was recovered in the MSA layers of Panga ya Saidi (PYS), a cave site in the tropical upland coast of Kenya. Recent excavations have revealed a pit feature containing a child in a flexed position. Geochemical, granulometric and micromorphological analyses of the burial pit content and encasing archaeological layers indicate that the pit was deliberately excavated. Taphonomical evidence, such as the strict articulation or good anatomical association of the skeletal elements and histological evidence of putrefaction, support the in-place decomposition of the fresh body. The presence of little or no displacement of the unstable joints during decomposition points to an interment in a filled space (grave earth), making the PYS finding the oldest known human burial in Africa.”

Just when you thought it was safe to return to a nuclear disaster site, it turns out that there’s still some unwanted fission reactions going on. Per Science, “Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded in the world’s worst nuclear accident, fission reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses buried deep inside a mangled reactor hall. “It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit,” says Neil Hyatt, a nuclear materials chemist at the University of Sheffield. Now, Ukrainian scientists are scrambling to determine whether the reactions will wink out on their own—or require extraordinary interventions to avert another accident.”

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

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