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the (semi) weekly article roundup, vol. xii

Through my work as a freelance writer, I often come across interesting articles throughout the week. Here are a few I thought I'd share:

Here are two articles that consider the potential source of the next (potential) pandemic. One theory is that it will be the result of gain-of-function research. It seems pretty clear at this point that COVID did make its way from a lab so I find it absolutely insane that a lab in Boston would create a version with an 80% kill rate (per The Boston Herald).

However, another hypothesis is that humankind may soon face a virus that comes from the melting glaciers. This Guardian article highlights the fascinating danger -- for example, scientists found 33 virus strains in Tibetan ice plateaus, of which 28 were novel to researchers. If those ice sheets were to melt, people would be exposed and there is no exact way of knowing how the body would be able to respond to alien viruses.

I actually posted this article once before, but I find it so crazy that I am adding it once more. Four years before COVID was even a blip on the radar, a team of scientists was supposed to come together to create a task force to top the next epidemic. This team, known as the Global Virome Project, was finalized in 2019 -- just months before first COVID-19 diagnosis was discovered. It's first research mission? Studying bat coronaviruses. The story, from UnHerd, is really interesting, and I urge everyone to give it a quick read!

Speaking of pandemics, I recently learned that there was a "Dancing Mania Plague" that gripped Europe in the 16th century. Though it sounds almost comical, there were serious medical consequences where victims would dance in reportedly erratic until they collapsed, facing serious injury and sometimes death. Scientists still don't know the cause, whether it be an extreme form of social contagion or an illness stemming from a virus or fungus (per Smithsonian Magazine).

Last but not least, I've been meaning to post this read from Wired for a long time. The piece, titled "The Lobbyist Next Door" is a frightening expose on how the next level of influencing is to peddle ideas instead of products. It feels truly Orwellian, and honestly the spookiest thing you can read this October.

Note: art attribution in the cover image goes to Cup of Couple on Pexels.


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