DAILY DOSE: Covid-19 pits China, EU, and USA against each other; Is this artwork racist?

Covid-19 hasn’t lost a step when it comes to being politicized by anyone who wants to do so. With the outbreak in China raging, countries have decided to impose either restrictions or mandatory testing on tourists from the country. Sort of the way China did up until a couple of weeks ago. Of course, China protests saying its unfair and that they’ll get back at anyone who does what they did themselves. Per the Associated Press,

The European Union and China on Tuesday moved closer to a political standoff over the COVID-19 crisis, with Beijing vehemently rejecting travel restrictions some EU nations have started to impose that could be expanded in coming days.

An EU offer of help, including vaccine donations, was also as good as slapped down, with Beijing insisting the situation was “under control” and medical provisions “in adequate supply,” government spokesperson Mao Ning said.

And as the 27-nation bloc moved closer to imposing some sort of restrictions on travelers from China, Beijing threatened countermeasures.

“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the COVID measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,” Mao said.

Still, the EU seemed bent on taking some sort of joint action to ensure incoming passengers from China would not transmit any potential new variants to the continent.

There’s hypocrisy going all around. China’s objections are rich. Meanwhile, imposing restrictions in countries that have massively high levels of Covid-19 transmission within their own borders is equally rich. It’s all theater. https://bit.ly/3VNrwAS

The United States has also moved to require mandatory testing for incoming Chinese tourists. Per the AP,

Shubham Chandra knows how dangerous the coronavirus can be: He lost his dad during the pandemic. So when he cleared customs at Newark Liberty International Airport and saw people offering anonymous COVID-19 testing, he was happy to volunteer.

“It’s a minimum amount of effort to help a lot of people,” said the 27-year-old New York City man, who had just stepped off a plane from Cancun, Mexico.

The airport testing is part of the government’s early warning system for detecting new variants, which began expanding recently in the wake of a COVID-19 surge in China.

With the addition of Los Angeles and Seattle, there are now seven airports where arriving passengers can volunteer for COVID-19 tests. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program now covers about 500 flights from at least 30 countries, including more than half from China and surrounding areas.

As of Thursday, the CDC is also requiring travelers to the U.S. from China, Hong Kong and Macao to take a COVID-19 test no more than two days before travel and provide a negative result before boarding a flight.

Again, politically-driven hypocrisy all over the place. https://bit.ly/3Cqj8Ae

An artwork created by a Danish artist is being called racist. According to Hyperallergic,

In the display window of a Copenhagen gallery named ArtPusher, a neon artwork depicted a larger-than-life Chanel-style perfume bottle that reads “N’19 COVID CHINA.” In recent days, the work has been denounced onsite and online as racist, but the gallery owner and artist Søren Vilhelm, who goes by “ArtPusher,” has doubled down instead of issuing an apology.

Leading the protest against the racist artwork is Xue Chen, an art student in London who happened by the gallery during a visit to Copenhagen. Using lipstick and wrap paper from a local supermarket, she scrawled “Racism” and the phrase “This is art too, enjoy” alongside a drawing of the bottle with the words “Respect nature!” (Chen explained to Hyperallergic that COVID-19 comes from nature and is not the product of human design). She posted a video of the action on Instagram.

“If a work of art is based on the sufferings of a nation and displays hate speech against innocent people, it must be wrong, needs to be criticized, and needs to be corrected,” Chen told Hyperallergic.

“Calling me a racist is a joke to everybody who follows me and my work,” ArtPusher told Hyperallergic, adding that he used to live in Asia and his wife is Asian. A Facebook post from today shows a printed doormat with a version of the “Covid China” work and the caption reads (with three laughing emojis), “Wonder if my doormat is also racist — feeling thoughtful at Artpusher.

So, is it or isn’t it? https://bit.ly/3GgtgwJ

There are lots of things that can be faked. Clothing. Bags. Emotions. Meat. But recent simulations have shown that one thing that cannot be faked are black holes. Per Science,

No notion in physics may be more mind bending than a black hole, an infinitesimal pit in spacetime whose gravity is so strong that nothing can escape. But could very dense, dark objects be masquerading as black holes? A new study suggests not. Simulations show how any material object dense enough to resemble a black hole would be unstable, either puffing up into something less dense or collapsing to make a black hole anyway.

“The corner of theory in which you can produce things that will look like a black hole is becoming narrower and narrower,” says Emanuele Berti, a gravitational-wave theorist at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in the new work. Ironically, even as the result makes black hole impostors less plausible, interest in them is growing, researchers say, as the theories may soon be testable with astronomical observations.

A black hole is the ghostly gravitational field left behind when a massive star burns out and collapses under its own gravity to an infinitesimal point. Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity says gravity arises when mass or energy warp spacetime, and in a black hole the energy in the stretched out spacetime itself sustains the warping. Within a certain distance from the point, not even light can escape. That distance marks the black hole’s defining feature, its event horizon.

The annual orgy of all things electronic is in full swing in Vegas. Yes, it’s CES time. Here’s a mid-convention update of some, buy by no means all, highpoints. https://bit.ly/3WQsyx4

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

IMAGE CREDIT: Screenshot.

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