DAILY DOSE: Latest Covid-19 origins report underwhelms; Brexit hurting British science.


By the looks of things, the world should just forget about ever knowing the true origins of Sars-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19. Per Science, “‘Further studies needed.’ That’s the main message in a preliminary report released today by a scientific advisory group convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) to clarify the cloudy origin of COVID-19. But in stark distinction to a report from an earlier WHO committee, which drew controversy in 2021 by all but dismissing that SARS-CoV-2 might have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China, this panel recommends more investigations into the lab-leak scenario possibility… Van Kerkhove closed the press conference by addressing the elephant in the corner: Can WHO, which is beholden to its member states and has little power to force China or any other country to cooperate, get it to do the studies recommended in the report? ‘We’re under no illusions that we can keep all of the politics out, but we will do our damnedest to keep focused on what needs to be done here,’ she said. ‘We will continue to do everything we can until these questions are answered.’” https://bit.ly/3NIsgUr


Remember Brexit? There was a lot of doom and gloom about its implications for British science. For a while, those fears seemed overblown. Now, they are beginning to appear prescient. Per the Guardian, “The UK is facing an exodus of star scientists with at least 16 recipients of prestigious European grants making plans to move their labs abroad as the UK remains frozen out of the EU’s flagship science programme. Britain’s participation in Horizon Europe has been caught in the crosshairs of the dispute over Brexit in Northern Ireland, meaning that 143 UK-based recipients of European Research Council fellowships this week faced a deadline of either relinquishing their grant or transferring it to an institute in an eligible country.” The UK government has promised to underwrite the funding, totalling about £250m, but a growing number of scientists appear likely to reject the offer and instead relocate, along with entire teams of researchers. Is this the end? Probably not. It is less than ideal thought. https://bit.ly/3mBFwi0


Move over Pirates of the Caribbean, hello IRL. An underwater discovery has brought lost English ships to the forefront. Per the Associated Press, “Explorers and historians are telling the world about the discovery of the wreck of a royal warship that sank in 1682 while carrying a future king of England, Ireland and Scotland. The HMS Gloucester, traveling from southern England to Scotland, ran aground while navigating sandbanks off the town of Great Yarmouth on the eastern English coast. It sank within an hour, killing an estimated 130 to 250 crew and passengers. The discovery was only made public Friday because of the time it took to confirm the identity of the ship and the need to protect the historical site.” https://bit.ly/3NK7rYQ


A recent study has established what divorcees the world over instinctively know. One party gets hurt while the other party does not. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “In economic and sociological theory of divorce, the link between divorce consequences and the decision to divorce is central: A couple divorces if at least one spouse expects to improve their life by initiating divorce. The present study provides empirical evidence in support of this theoretical link: Separation initiators become better off in terms of subjective well-being after a separation, whereas noninitiators become worse off, before they eventually experience a full recovery.” Great. Thanks. https://bit.ly/3mCY5Ca

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

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