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DAILY DOSE: American Science now second-fiddle in the world, NSF report.


With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, Beijing has an itchy trigger finger when it comes to mass testing and lockdowns. An outbreak in the capitol is even more cause for a Covid-freakout. They never disappoint. Per the Associated Press, “A fresh outbreak in Beijing has prompted authorities to test millions and impose new measures two weeks ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympics, even as Chinese officials on Monday lifted a month long lockdown on the northern city of Xi’an and its 13 million residents. Despite falling case numbers, pandemic controls have been stepped up ahead of the Olympics, where all participants must be tested before and after their arrival in Beijing.” It’s clear that China has been pretty successful thus far at keeping Covid-19 at bay (after the initial outbreak that spread to the world, that is). It will be fascinating to see what their exist strategy is since the rest of the world has basically been bludgeoned into Covid-19 acquiescence. https://bit.ly/3rF7OtU


There is an intriguing and informative op-ed in the Globe and Mail about the discourse surrounding Covid-19 vaccines. Norman Doidge argues that honest discussions about immunizations were almost immediately knocked off course by the initial narratives that surrounded them. He goes into great detail mapping the twists and turns vaccine descriptions have taken. Things don’t look very positive. More scientific debate around vaccines is needed but unlikely given the current atmosphere. https://tgam.ca/3qVrhHH

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American Science is in trouble. While it’s too soon to proclaim terminal decline, it does appear that things are at an inflection point. Per Science, “A new data-rich report by the National Science Foundation (NSF) confirms China has overtaken the United States as the world’s leader in several key scientific metrics, including the overall number of papers published and patents awarded. U.S. scientists also have serious competition from foreign researchers in certain fields, it finds. That loss of hegemony raises an important question for U.S. policymakers and the country’s research community, according to NSF’s oversight body, the National Science Board (NSB). ‘Since across-the-board leadership in [science and engineering] is no longer a possibility, what then should our goals be?’” Considering the all-or-nothing approach to science taken by certain individuals during prior to and during the pandemic, things don’t look good. https://bit.ly/3IBGNyv


Open Access in science has taken another significant step forward. Per Nature, “An ambitious free index of more than 200 million scientific documents that catalogues publication sources, author information and research topics, has been launched. The index, called OpenAlex after the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt, also aims to chart connections between these data points to create a comprehensive, interlinked database of the global research system, say its founders. The database, which launched on 3 January, is a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), a free alternative to subscription-based platforms such as Scopus, Dimensions and Web of Science that was discontinued at the end of 2021.” https://go.nature.com/3FX5CCY


Last week, in a scene straight out of a biological thriller, a highway accident resulted in the escape of dozens of monkeys. While there was some concern that the monkeys might be harboring zoonotic viruses ready to break out, it appears as if Pennsylvania dodged a bullet. Per the Associated Press, “The last of the escaped monkeys from the crash of a truck towing a trailer load of 100 of the animals was accounted for by late Saturday, a day after the pickup collided with a dump truck on a Pennsylvania highway, authorities said. Several monkeys had escaped following Friday’s collision, Pennsylvania State Police said. But only one had remained unaccounted for as of Saturday morning, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies to launch a search for it amid frigid weather.” https://bit.ly/3IBJRKZ

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

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