TO prevent future pandemics, we must stop deforestation and end the illegal wildlife trade. Do you agree? Of course you do, because what’s not to like? The buck stops with the evil other. The question is, will doing those things solve the problem? And the answer is, probably not. They will help, but there’s another, potentially bigger problem closer to home: the global north’s use of natural resources, especially its reliance on livestock…
This article was first published in The Guardian on 21 December 2020. To continue reading, click here.
THE Magh Mela, the annual Hindu pilgrimage to Prayagraj, India, usually attracts around 10 million people. Officials announced last month that it will go ahead as planned this winter—despite the country’s high number of new COVID-19 cases…
This article first appeared in National Geographic on 12 November 2020. To continue reading, click here.
MICHEL Rosell gathers up a mass of papers and divides them into two piles. On the left are bills: a single sheet. On the right is a sheaf of letters from friends and lovers. “If the pile of letters is growing faster than the pile of bills, you’re on the right track,” says Rosell. “If it’s the other way round, you’re on the wrong track. It’s not that hard, the revolution I’m proposing…”
This article first appeared in The Guardian on 11 October 2020. To continue reading, click here.
THE first coronavirus novel from a major British writer has just been published. Summer, the last book in Scottish writer Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, is infused with the pandemic we are living through. That it has appeared now is a tribute to the agility of both author and publisher, whose goal was to produce literature in as close to real time as possible. Does it herald a coming wave of pandemic fiction…?
This article first appeared in The Guardian on 7 August 2020. To continue reading, click here.
THE death date of smallpox is clear. After killing more than 300 million people in the twentieth century, it claimed its last victim in 1978; two years later, on 8 May 1980, the World Health Assembly declared that the variola virus, which causes smallpox, had been eradicated. But the origins of this devastating virus are obscure. Now, genetic evidence is starting to uncover when smallpox first started attacking people…
This article first appeared in Nature on 23 July 2020. To continue reading, click here (paywall).