Ed Yong
Ed Yong
Edmund Soon-Weng Yong is a Malaysian-born British science journalist. His blog Not Exactly Rocket Science is published as part of the National Geographic Phenomena blog network. Previously his work has been published by Nature, Scientific American, the BBC, Slate, The Guardian, The Times, New Scientist, Wired, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. He has been a permanent staff member of The Atlantic since 2015.Source
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The Bipartisan Fight for Quieter Oceans

The Bipartisan Fight for Quieter Oceans

Last night, to celebrate the fourth of July, the air over the U.S. filled with fireworks. The noise they created was extremely loud and, mercifully, brief. But imagine having to listen to even louder explosions once every ten seconds, for days or weeks on end. Starting this fall, that may be the new reality for whales, fish, and other marine life off the eastern seaboard, if the Trump administration’s plans go ahead. Following the president’s executive order to open the Atlantic to offshore drilling, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is set to permit five companies to begin...

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Ed Yong
July 6, 2017
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Bill Gates: The Pandemic Has Erased Years of Progress

Bill Gates: The Pandemic Has Erased Years of Progress

In April 2018, I spoke with Bill Gates about two near certainties—that the world would eventually face a serious pandemic and that it was not prepared for one. Even then, Gates acknowledged that this was the rare scenario that punctured his trademark optimism about global progress. “My general narrative is: Hey, we’re making great progress and we just need to accelerate it,” he told me. “Here, I’m bringing more of: Hey, you thought this was bad? [You should] really feel bad.” Two years after that conversation, COVID-19 has infected at least 31 million people around the world. The confirmed...

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Ed Yong
Sep 24
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Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful

Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful

One of the few mercies during this crisis is that, by their nature, individual coronaviruses are easily destroyed. Each virus particle consists of a small set of genes, enclosed by a sphere of fatty lipid molecules, and because lipid shells are easily torn apart by soap, 20 seconds of thorough hand-washing can take one down. Lipid shells are also vulnerable to the elements; shows that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, survives for no more than a day on cardboard, and about two to three days on steel and plastic. These viruses don’t endure in the world. They need bodies.But much about...

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Ed Yong
March 20, 2020
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The U.K.’s Coronavirus ‘Herd Immunity’ Debacle

The U.K.’s Coronavirus ‘Herd Immunity’ Debacle

The country is not aiming for 60 percent of the populace to get COVID-19, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so based on how badly the actual plan has been explained. There was a time when it seemed possible for the world to contain COVID-19—the disease caused by the new coronavirus. That time is over. What began as an outbreak in China has become a pandemic, and as a growing number of countries struggle to control the virus, talk of “flattening the curve” is increasing. That is, a lot of people are going to get sick, and delaying infections as much as possible is imperative, so that cases...

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Ed Yong
March 16, 2020
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What Strength Really Means When You’re Sick

What Strength Really Means When You’re Sick

President Donald Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia of the president tackling and punching the wrestler and WWE CEO Vince McMahon. In the edited version, McMahon’s face has been replaced with a picture of a virus. “COVID stood NO chance against !” Loeffler wrote.Similar sentiments, trumpeting Trump’s strength and fighting spirit, have poured forth since he tested positive for COVID-19. “,” Twitter users wrote. “Our president is strong and will beat the virus,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “He’s a fighter,” former press...

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Ed Yong
Oct 9
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How Science Beat the Virus

How Science Beat the Virus

In fall of 2019, exactly zero scientists were studying COVID‑19, because no one knew the disease existed. The coronavirus that causes it, SARS‑CoV‑2, had only recently jumped into humans and had been neither identified nor named. But by the end of March 2020, it had spread to more than 170 countries, sickened more than 750,000 people, and triggered the biggest pivot in the history of modern science. Thousands of researchers dropped whatever intellectual puzzles had previously consumed their curiosity and began working on the pandemic instead. In mere months, science became thoroughly...

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Ed Yong
Dec 14
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‘No One Is Listening to Us’

‘No One Is Listening to Us’

The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection .On Saturday morning, Megan Ranney was about to put on her scrubs when she heard that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. That day, she treated people with COVID-19 while street parties erupted around the country. She was still in the ER in the late evening when Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris made their victory speeches. These days, her shifts at Rhode Island Hospital are long, and they “are not going to change in the next 73 days,” before Biden becomes president,...

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Ed Yong
Nov 13
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America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral

Army ants will sometimes walk in circles until they die. The workers navigate by smelling the pheromone trails of workers in front of them, while laying down pheromones for others to follow. If these trails accidentally loop back on themselves, the ants are trapped. They become a thick, swirling vortex of bodies that resembles a hurricane as viewed from space. They march endlessly until they’re felled by exhaustion or dehydration. The ants can sense no picture bigger than what’s immediately ahead. They have no coordinating force to guide them to safety. They are imprisoned by a wall of...

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Ed Yong
Sep 9
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Immunology Is Where Intuition Goes to Die

Immunology Is Where Intuition Goes to Die

The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection . Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET on August 5, 2020.There’s a joke about immunology, which Jessica Metcalf of Princeton recently told me. An immunologist and a cardiologist are kidnapped. The kidnappers threaten to shoot one of them, but promise to spare whoever has made the greater contribution to humanity. The cardiologist says, “Well, I’ve identified drugs that have saved the lives of millions of people.” Impressed, the kidnappers turn to the immunologist. “What have you done?” they ask. The...

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Ed Yong
Aug 5
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Bill Gates: The Pandemic Has Erased Years of Progress

Bill Gates: The Pandemic Has Erased Years of Progress

This article is part of our coverage of the The Atlantic Festival. Learn more and watch festival sessions . In April 2018, about two near certainties—that the world would eventually face a serious pandemic and that it was not prepared for one. Even then, Gates acknowledged that this was the rare scenario that punctured his trademark optimism about global progress. “My general narrative is: Hey, we’re making great progress and we just need to accelerate it,” he told me. “Here, I’m bringing more of: Hey, you thought this was bad? [You should] really feel bad.”Two years after that...

theatlantic.com
Ed Yong
Sep 24
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