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DAILY DOSE: Shanghai inches closer to reopening; Debate on whether animals can feel pain draws to a close.

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OPENING DAY.

With June 1 right around the corner, Shanghai has its eyes firmly trained on safely re-opening China’s financial hub. Per the Associated Press, “Shanghai authorities say they will take major steps Wednesday toward reopening China’s largest city after a two-month COVID-19 lockdown that has set back the national economy and largely confined millions of people to their homes. Full bus and subway service will be restored, as will basic rail connections with the rest of China, Vice Mayor Zong Ming said Tuesday at a daily briefing on the city’s outbreak. ‘The epidemic has been effectively controlled,’ she said, adding that the city will start the phase of fully restoring work and life on Wednesday.” Hopefully, the city can keep the coronavirus at bay because the country’s strict Zero-Covid/Dynamic-Zero strategy (whatever you want to call it) is always looming. https://bit.ly/3NLYGgm


HOW HIGH?

Anyone who’s done the grocery lately can’t avoid higher food prices. There are a lot of reasons for that. One major reason and most likely the thing that tipped prices from slightly annoying to downright painful is the war in Ukraine. An article in Reuters uses graphics to illustrate just how steep the price increases have been. According to the article, “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February dramatically worsened the outlook for already inflated global food prices. The halt in Ukrainian exports following the outbreak of the conflict pushed the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, which tracks international prices of the most globally traded food commodities, to its highest point in March since records began in 1990. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a move Russia calls a ‘special operation’ to demilitarise its neighbour, is the latest development in a growing global food crisis. While post-pandemic global demand, extreme weather, tightening food stocks, high energy prices, supply chain bottlenecks and export restrictions and taxes have been straining the food market for two years, the recent convergence of all these factors following Russia’s invasion is unprecedented and has sent food inflation rates spiking around the world.” https://tmsnrt.rs/3akK5tV


FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS.

Tensions between the United States and China are beginning to shake scientific collaborations between researchers from the two countries. According to Nature, “The number of scholars who declare affiliations in both China and the United States on research papers has dropped by more than 20% over the past 3 years, an analysis conducted for Nature has found. That slump seems to be part of a pattern of waning US–China collaboration that is starting to show up in research databases. The number of papers that were collaborations between authors in the United States and China — the world’s two largest research producers — also fell for the first time last year.” This is a lose-lose for both countries and also for the world. https://go.nature.com/3M40EHZ


TREASURE TROVE… LITERALLY.

Egyptian authorities displayed a trove of ancient artifacts dating back 2,500 years were recently unearthed at the necropolis of Saqqara near Cairo. Per the Associated Press, “According to Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the find includes 250 painted sarcophagi with well-preserved mummies inside, as well as 150 bronze statues of ancient deities and bronze vessels used in rituals of Isis, the goddess of fertility in ancient Egyptian mythology, all from the Late Period, about 500 B.C. A headless bronze statue of Imhotep, the chief architect of Pharaoh Djoser who ruled ancient Egypt between 2630 B.C. and 2611 B.C was also displayed. The artifacts will be transferred for a permanent exhibit at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, a mega project still under construction near the famed Giza Pyramids, just outside Cairo.” The fact that sites that have been explored for decades, if not centuries, continue to yield new artifacts is nothing short of amazing. https://bit.ly/3wYlLa9


ANIMALS CAN FEEL.

Humans have always wondered whether animals are capable of emotions and the ability to feel pain. For most of history, we’ve opted for moral expediency over rigorous and honest investigation. Things are beginning to change and research appears to be supporting the notion that most, if not all, animals do indeed feel pain. An article in Science makes the case for animals and also addresses whether invertebrates, in particular, can feel pain. “When the medical community recognized infant pain in the 1980s, it was because the evidence was so overwhelming that physicians could no longer act as if infants are immune to pain. A similar point is being reached where invertebrates can no longer be treated as if they only have a nociceptive response to harmful stimuli. If they can no longer be considered immune to felt pain, invertebrate experiences will need to become part of our species’ moral landscape.” Do what you want with that information. However, it does make eating other animals increasingly unfeasible from a moral standpoint. https://bit.ly/3taqvXV

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


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