This week, southwestern states are seeing a COVID-19 surge, and the River Thames in London is showing strong signs of ecological diversity after being declared dead for years. We’re still grappling with 14 deaths during a crowd surge at an Astroworld concert and watching Kyle Rittenhouse on trial for shooting three people during a 2020 protest in Wisconsin.
So what’s happening in the world of health? We’ve got COVID-19 in deer, sponge cities, COP26 and an internal battle in wellness.
But first we want to thank and remember all of the veterans in our community in honor of Veterans Day. Thank you, Veterans!
1. Urban sponges
The U.S. and China, the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, surprised everyone at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, this week with a deal to ramp up climate change action in the 2020’s. Scientists, however, say lofty goals from countries must be matched by actions — quickly — although they’re feeling more hopeful that humanity is reaching its “oh shit” moment.
Meanwhile, a man in China thinks he has an urban solution to disastrous flooding: sponge cities. Yu Kongjian is working on urban design focused on absorbing the shock of flooding through natural elements and ancient farming practices instead of trying to divert it with pipes and drains.
2. The wellness maze
The wellness industry’s online celebrities — once focused on self-care and community — have shifted tone in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the top social media influencers are now among the pandemic’s “disinformation dozen,” according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate. COVID-19 posts are a muddled tangle of individual values and "sick blaming" (which has a longer history than you might think). As those who balk at anti-vaccination content unfollow accounts, echo chambers become more pronounced.
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Take a deep dive into smell — what it reveals about you, the genetics of our unique smells and what we don’t know about it — with The Wall Street Journal.
If your eyes need a break, listen to this Invisibilia podcast episode about a woman who can tell the future in small, but terrifying, ways through her sense of smell.
Q: What did the wise man with a kidney stone say?
A: This too shall pass.
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