Read on the street 18 April 2020
Another week of lockdown done and more to go. We’re getting used to being together apart, learning new ways of working and living.
It’s a long haul, but at least it’s encouraging us to delve in different nooks and crannies to find things out beyond our existing knowledge base, background and comfort zones. This is a health pandemic, but with massive implications for virtually every walk of life.
The importance of quality reading from trusted sources is hopefully a lesson we’re learning – or re-learning – in this time of coronavirus.
We hope you enjoy this week’s offering of some of our best reads.
Globalists' best hope
Ahead of the American elections in November, Joe Biden stands to shape a generation if he wins, as he could decide how his country learns from the pandemic. He may well be the best hope for globalists in the US, after a decade of events that have played against them such the 2008 financial crash and rise of populism, as well as coronavirus.
Read in the Financial Times.
This is the story of how millions have found comfort in Animal Crossing’s cute pastoralism. The game has proved to be such a boom that Nintendo Switch consoles are hard to find. Although it may sound trivial, this phenomenon can tell us an awful lot about human nature.
Read in The Atlantic.
The hidden cost of medical crowdfunding
In countries with weak or broken healthcare systems, there has emerged a third way. Straddling social media, start-up culture and the medical community like a groaning tight-rope, crowdfunding is a make or break solution for those who face the dreaded mix: severe health conditions and financial distress. But it is not any kind of safety net. In reality, it is a popularity contest for those with access to the internet and technology, those without a terminal illness, those who are attractive and young, spreading rampant inequality and legitimising government inaction.
How COVID-19 could ruin weather forecasts and climate records
Scientific research, it turns out, is not immune to the pandemic. With scientists isolating and research efforts focused on finding a cure and alleviating the impact of the virus, the delicate instruments that are used to measure things like weather and oceanic activity are rapidly falling into disrepair. The situation may well leave a gap in future records, but it is teaching scientists an important lesson in resilience.
Intelligence matters little without zest for life
Natural smarts are not to be scoffed at, but you are nowhere without a bit of gumption. At least so says James Marriott in The Times. Using Boris Johnson as an example, he argues that nothing beats good old-fashioned energy for getting things done. Better turn that frown upside down.
China's Bat Woman
Virologists have been swiftly overshadowed by the work of nurses, doctors and logistics people who are currently fighting the pandemic. But make no mistake, they are critical in this battle. This is the story of Shi, a virologist from Wuhan, and her role in tracing down the current pandemic to the first transmission.
Written by Kevin Pringle, Partner