Good News Friday

  • The history of the end of poverty has just begun. Our World in Data.
  • First-ever pig-to-human heart transplant offers hope for thousands in need of organs. USA Today.
  • Researchers find a new target for a universal flu vaccine: the “anchor”. Freethink.
  • A Texas team comes up with a COVID vaccine that could be a global game changer for low income countries. NPR.
  • First female judge nominated for Pakistan’s supreme court. The Guardian.
  • mRNA vaccine technology has helped repair broken hearts in mice. New Scientist.
  • Grazing livestock among the trees is helping to prevent wildfires. Reasons to be Cheerful.
  • Beijing meets state air quality standards for first time in 2021. Reuters.
  • U.S. sees record job growth in 2021. Bloomberg.
  • Spain returns to pre-pandemic employment levels thanks to creation of 776,000 jobs in 2021. El Pais.
  • Thousands of seasonal farmworkers will get their much-deserved raises after all. Daily Kos.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, and Future Crunch.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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I’ve recently finished watching Deep Space Nine. The last time I left off in my irregular series of reviews was season three, so I’m picking up again with the season four opener, Way of the Warrior.

This is the point where Worf joins the cast. I’ve got to say this episode doesn’t feel like Star Trek with violence ultimately winning the day. The spaceship and hand-to-hand battles felt more like a Star Wars thing. Sisko not checking for survivors after a space battle because it might give away their position was particularly callous. I did like Garak saying that while the Klingons beat him up, he got in a couple of cutting remarks sure to cause emotional damage for years to come. Despite its reputation for being dark, Deep Space Nine is actually the funniest Trek series to come out before Lower Decks.

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Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein

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When it comes to errors in human judgment, we tend to focus on bias, but noise is also a cause of error. Bias is the average of errors committed by a group. You need to know the right answer to know what the bias is. Bias is systemic and predictable. Noise, on the other hand, is variable amongst a group of judgements. You can tell there’s noise even if you don’t know the right answer. It’s unpredictable and not easily explained.

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I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

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Harlan Ellison is considered one of science fiction’s grand masters and I’ve heard praise for the title story in this collection, so I decided to give it a try.

“I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream” doesn’t have much of a plot. Basically, four men and one woman are being tortured by an artificial intelligence the whole time. The woman has sex with all the men even though they beat her and ignore her cries.

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