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 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...

March 16, 2020
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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...

July 6, 2017
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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...

March 20, 2020
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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...

September 24, 2020
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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...

Dec 14
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No One Is Prepared for Hagfish Slime

No One Is Prepared for Hagfish Slime

At first glance, the hagfish—a sinuous, tubular animal with pink-grey skin and a paddle-shaped tail—looks very much like an eel. Naturalists can tell the two apart because hagfish, unlike other fish, lack backbones (and, also, jaws). For everyone else, there’s an even easier method. “Look at the hand holding the fish,” the marine biologist Andrew Thaler . “Is it completely covered in slime? Then, it’s a hagfish.”Hagfish produce slime the way humans produce opinions—readily, swiftly, defensively, and prodigiously. They slime when attacked or simply when stressed. On July 14, 2017, . The...

January 23, 2019
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How the Pandemic Now Ends

How the Pandemic Now Ends

In September 2020, just before COVID-19 began its wintry surge through the United States, I wrote that the country was trapped in a pandemic spiral, seemingly destined to repeat the same mistakes. But after vaccines arrived in midwinter, cases in the U.S. declined and, by summer’s edge, had reached their lowest levels since the pandemic’s start. Many Americans began to hope that the country had enough escape velocity to exit its cycle of missteps and sickness. And though experts looked anxiously to the fall, few predicted that the Delta variant would begin its ascent at the start of July....

Aug 12
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Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us

Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us

The influenza pandemic that began in 1918 killed as many as 100 million people over two years. It was one of the deadliest disasters in history, and the one all subsequent pandemics are now compared with. At the time, The Atlantic did not cover it. In the immediate aftermath, “it really disappeared from the public consciousness,” says Scott Knowles, a disaster historian at Drexel University. “It was swamped by World War I and then the Great Depression. All of that got crushed into one era.” An immense crisis can be lost amid the rush of history, and Knowles wonders if the fracturing of...

Dec 29
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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...

October 9, 2020
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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,...

Nov 13
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