DAILY DOSE: Fine Art forgers meet their match in carbon dating tech; How to spot fake Ukraine conflict news.


Things continue to head in the wrong direction in Hong Kong. Rather than stamping out its Omicron outbreak, the city is experiencing an explosion of cases. Its leadership gives the impression that it is struggling to balance the so-called “dynamic zero” approach which is similar to Mainland China’s zero-covid strategy. Per the Associated Press, “Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Wednesday that reducing the skyrocketing number of deaths in the latest coronavirus surge is the city’s priority, putting a plan to test the entire population on hold in the latest flip-flop in the government’s pandemic response. Lam said there is ‘no specific time frame’ for a citywide testing, two weeks after she announced it would happen this month. Her earlier announcement, coupled with rumors of an accompanying lockdown of the city, left store shelves bare as residents stockpiled daily necessities.” Hong Kong now has the highest mortality rate in the world. https://bit.ly/3IY8Vwn


A couple of months ago, an emergency transplant of a pig heart into a human patient was successfully carried out. For a while, it appeared as if the groundbreaking surgery would keep the man alive. Unfortunately, it has not. Per the Associated Press, “The first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig has died, two months after the groundbreaking experiment, the Maryland hospital that performed the surgery announced Wednesday. David Bennett, 57, died Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors didn’t give an exact cause of death, saying only that his condition had begun deteriorating several days earlier. Bennett’s son praised the hospital for offering the last-ditch experiment, saying the family hoped it would help further efforts to end the organ shortage.” The procedure should still be considered a medical milestone. https://bit.ly/3hRp6j9


Fine Art forgery is a big deal and can cost museums and galleries millions of dollars. In the past, a keen expert eye and provenance sleuthing were the only way to investigate a potential fake. Now, radiocarbon dating has moved into the space and is revolutionizing it. Per Nature, “Radiocarbon dating has unmasked two forged paintings in France — probably the first time the technique has been used in a police investigation. The paintings were supposedly impressionist and pointillist works from around the early twentieth century. But a team led by heritage scientist Lucile Beck at the University of Paris-Saclay used radiocarbon levels in the fibres of their canvases to date them to sometime within the past 70 years. The researchers concluded that the paintings are modern forgeries in a 4 February report published in Forensic Science International.” https://go.nature.com/3HZDPD7


A study in the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report kept track of Covid-19 vaccine safety for adolescents between 12-17 years old. According to the paper’s authors, “This report provides findings from v-safe and VAERS data collected during the first 7–11 weeks of administration of homologous Pfizer-BioNTech booster doses to persons aged 12–17 years, during which time approximately 2.8 million booster doses were administered. Among adolescents, reports to v-safe and VAERS after receipt of a booster dose were generally similar to those previously described after a primary series dose, reinforcing that vaccination among this population is safe. Health care providers, parents, and adolescents should be advised that local and systemic reactions are expected among adolescents after Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccination and that serious adverse events are rare.” The most common adverse events reported to VAERS in this age group were administration errors and events, including dizziness, related to syncope, a vasovagal response to vaccination that is common among adolescents after any vaccination. So, in other words, its safety profile is pretty good. https://bit.ly/3tMpCnS


The war in Ukraine has been accompanied by an avalanche of information and data online, mostly via social media such as TikTok, Telegram, and Twitter. Needless to say, you can’t believe everything you come across. A team at Stanford University suggested ways to catch any misinformation. Per Futurity, “Amidst the deluge of authentic reports have been a spate of misleading news and disinformation—narratives intended to discredit or cause harm—related to the conflict, says Shelby Grossman, a research scholar at the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO). ‘We are seeing the unintentional spread of falsehoods, along with covert influence operations around the conflict in Ukraine,’ Grossman says.” Her suggestions include watching for hacked accounts, fabricated claims and false flags, old media circulating out of its original context, manipulated images, unverified reports, fraud, and pro-Kremlin narratives. https://bit.ly/3pO5b9a

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

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