DAILY DOSE: Heart of Darkness at the center of the Milky Way; Where have all the easy decisions gone?


Sometimes, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that at the center of the galaxy our little speck of a planet is located in lies a black hole sucking everything into it like an apocalyptic sinkhole. Now, astronomers have managed to take a snapshot of said apocalyptic sinkhole. Per Reuters, “Scientists on Thursday provided the first look at what they called the ‘gentle giant’ lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, unveiling an image of a supermassive black hole that devours any matter wandering within its gargantuan gravitational pull. The black hole – called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* – is only the second one ever to be imaged. The feat was accomplished by the same Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) international collaboration that in 2019 unveiled the first-ever photo of a black hole – that one residing at the heart of a different galaxy.” https://reut.rs/38nqxEI


Thanks to its sealed-off, pariah state existence, North Korea has managed to avoid having significant Covid-19 outbreaks. That is, until now. Per the Associated Press, “North Korea imposed a nationwide lockdown Thursday to control its first acknowledged COVID-19 outbreak after holding for more than two years to a widely doubted claim of a perfect record keeping out the virus that has spread to nearly every place in the world.” With major outbreaks happening in cities across neighboring China, it was only a matter of time until it flowed into North Korea. Historically, diseases like small pox and the bubonic plague traveled similar routes annually. https://bit.ly/3PgkySO


Fierce Biotech has listed the top earning biopharma executives. According to the article, “Paul Stoffels, M.D., saw his Johnson & Johnson salary drop by more than a million in 2021, but that was enough to give him the top slot, with our usual champion, Regeneron’s George Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., falling off the list after many years of dominance. Stoffels, however, rang in the new year by exiting J&J, forfeiting any long-term incentives for the year, as compared to the year before, when he received more than $8 million in these rewards.” Reading the list is an experience in voyueristic masochism. Considering how Big Pharma is regarded by the general population, it’s pretty infuriating. That said, it’s probably less an industry specific thing and more an executive pay problem across the board. https://bit.ly/3NdIwfo


Everyone has been in a situation in which every day decision which were once made without a second thought have become existential crises thanks to Covid-19. An article in Psychology Today takes a look at how impossible things have become. According to the author, “Regardless of whether you’re a cut-and-dried decision maker or an overthinker like me, a solid chunk of Americans have found navigating the personal-responsibility era of the constantly evolving Covid-19 pandemic to be a choose-your-own-adventure exercise with the fun sapped out. An October 2021 study conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that more than a third of Americans said the pandemic had made both simple and major decisions more stressful. Black and Hispanic respondents, parents and younger generations, in particular, experienced more of this pressure. As the BA.2 variant drives an upswing of cases in the Northeast and precautionary measures like mask mandates on travel end, Americans are, for the umpteenth time, faced with changed circumstances and the new choices that come with them. And unfortunately, our brains were not built for this.” https://bit.ly/3LaRxo4

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

IMAGE CREDIT: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration.

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