Gimlet Media’s reliably interesting and informative podcast, Science Vs. returned for another season last week and they hit the ground running with an episode that explored whether therapy sessions actually help. This week, they’ve tackled a sensitive subject that has affected millions of people during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown era — weightgain. Per the podcast, “Today we’re looking at whether it really is that bad for your health to be fat. And a quick note about our words in this episode. A lot of people don’t like the words overweight or obese. Some people prefer the term ‘fat’ as a neutral way to describe a person’s body– like ‘tall.’ But not everyone is comfortable with using ‘fat’ this way. And meanwhile, overweight and obese both have specific definitions in medicine. So, we’re going to end up using all these terms, but we’ll try to be careful about when and why we use them.” The podcast’s segment on Body Mass Index is particularly interesting. Apparently, a 250 pound man with fat and a 250-pound man with muscle float differently in water. Go figure. Also, go listen to the ‘cast.
COVID knows no bounds. The upper echelons of the Russian government is in varying levels of quarantine as a result of exposure to an infected politician. Per USA Today, “Russian President Vladimir Putin says dozens of his staff have been infected with the coronavirus and that he will continue his self-isolation because of the outbreak. The Kremlin announced earlier this week that he would self-isolate after someone in his inner circle was infected although Putin had tested negative for the virus and he’s fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V. But Putin said Thursday the infections were extensive. ‘Cases of coronavirus have been identified in my immediate environment, and this is not one, not two, but several tens of people. Now we have to observe the self-isolation regime for several days,’ he said by video link to a summit of the Russia-led Collective Treaty Security Organization.” If they’re all vaccinated (they probably are), there’s nothing to worry about, to be fair. https://bit.ly/3tMGt9T
The global shift toward sustainable processes will bring with it new industries. One example is the growing demand for lithium. Per Reuters, “Argentina could become the world’s leading producer from brines in less than a decade if the flow of projects is followed and maintained,” David Guerrero Alvarado, a consultant advising Canada’s Alpha Lithium (ALLI.V), told Reuters in Salta. Alpha Lithium is in the investigation stage for a project in the nearby Salar Tolillar, one of many early-stage developments that – while offering promise – need an often long and costly process to be turned into a reality. With countries around the world scrambling to reduce emissions, rising global lithium demand and surging prices have drawn increased interest in the so-called ‘lithium triangle’ that spans parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.” Lithium batteries have serious limitations and researchers have been trying to find an improved energy source for some time now. Look no further than your smartphone and its crappy battery life. Once next-gen batteries become a reality, expect another mineral mining shift. https://reut.rs/39cFWEE
As SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew took to the stars (so to speak), another set of lower-orbit travellers made their descent back to Earth. Per the Associated Press, “A trio of Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Friday after a 90-day stay aboard their nation’s first space station in China’s longest mission yet. Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo landed in the Shenzhou-12 spaceship just after 1:30 p.m. (0530 GMT) after having undocked from the space station Thursday morning. State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of the spacecraft parachuting to land in the Gobi Desert where it was met by helicopters and off-road vehicles. Minutes later, a crew of technicians began opening the hatch of the capsule, which appeared undamaged.” With all this back-and-forth traffic, it’s getting easier to imagine a time when there will be traffic jams up in space. Fun. https://bit.ly/3EshZHH
The fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is gaining steam. With opening arguments done and dusted, the time has come to start hearing from witnesses. The company’s former chief financial officer, Denise Yam, testified first. According to FierceBiotech, “Yam testified that Theranos took in no annual revenue at all in 2012 or 2013, according to Forbes, and that she had projected revenues that maxed out at $132 million in 2016. That’s in stark contrast to materials given to investors estimating that the company would draw $140 million in revenue in 2014, for example, and a whopping $900 million the following year—numbers that Yam said she hadn’t come up with.” Even in the face of extended losses, the company continued to paint a rosy picture and induce more investors to hand over cash. The company was engaged in some next-level “faking it.” https://bit.ly/3hJLvyZ
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.