from the world's big
If confirmed, that's 10 times the official number of infected New Yorkers.
- It may be that many more unsymptomatic New Yorkers have encountered COVID-19 and fought it off.
- If this is true, the death rate may be lower than currently believed.
- Andrew Cuomo presented these early findings with the caveat that the study hasn't been completed or published yet.
We don't really know how many people have or have not been infected by coronavirus. Insufficient testing has left us largely flying blind, though there's been a general suspicion among experts that the disease's incidence is substantially underreported in what data there is.
On April 22, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described the preliminary findings of a new series of tests his state is conducting. The tests seek to identify asymptomatic individuals who are carrying antibodies that indicate they've fought off COVID-19 or are currently doing so. So far — and there's much more testing to be done — 13.9% of people tested positive for antibodies. That would suggest some 2.7 million New Yorkers have encountered the coronavirus. That's 10 times the official tally. In New York City, the results are even higher — 21.2% of people tested have the antibodies.
This could mean that the coronavirus has asymptomatically moved through a larger chunk of the population than previously known, and that the death rate may thus be much less than previously thought.
Cuomo’s and others' comments on the report
Image source: State of New York
Cuomo discussed the report's initial findings at a press conference. Since the study is ongoing, and the report itself not yet made available, his comments are the best information we have so far.
Said Cuomo, "We're going to continue this testing on a rolling basis. We'll have a larger and larger sample. But I want to see snapshots of what is happening with that rate. Is it going up? Is it flat? Is it going down? And [the antibody study] can really give us data to make decisions."
Not everyone is convinced of the study's value. NYC Health, for example, has raised warnings regarding the potential for false positives and negatives, and cites the remaining "void" in our knowledge of COVID-19.
The tests were developed by New York State's Wadsworth Center lab, which asserts that it's 93-100% effective at differentiating the current coronavirus from previous infections. However, the lab has not publicly rated its efficiency, or sensitivity, at delivering accurate positives.
On top of that, it's always a good idea to resist drawing conclusions too quickly from any single study, and especially from one whose findings are so preliminary. Speaking with NBC News, Harvard epidemiologist William Hanage cautions, "There's a risk of really serious misinterpretation here." Nonetheless, "the most basic conclusion — that quite a large number of people may have been infected and are not turning up in the official case counts — that's extremely plausible and something we have been suspecting all along."
Image source: State of New York
Blood tests were administered to 3,000 people across the state — in 40 locations and 19 counties — as they shopped at grocery and big-box stores. There's therefore a certain degree of pre-selection in the sample so far. For example, people too ill or otherwise infirm to be out and about are not included in its results. This is one of the report's limitations and a reason to wait before jumping to too many conclusions regarding its data.
"These are people who were out and about shopping," noted Cuomo. "They were not people who were in their homes. They were not people who were isolated. They were not people who were quarantined."
The results so far also reflect the disproportionate impact of coronavirus of people of color. Statewide, 22.8% of multiracial individuals tested positive for the antibody, as well as 22% of both African-Americans and Latinos.
The most popular books of the past 125 years, and where to get them.
- New York Public library is celebrating its 125th birthday in 2020. With over 90 locations across New York City's boroughs, it is the nation's largest public library system.
- Based on circulation data, popularity, trends, and other criteria dating back to 1895, these books are considered the library's most checked-out titles of all time.
- "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats was checked out 485,583 times and takes the top spot, but one librarian's hatred of another book may have robbed it of the crown.
Twain and Tesla had similar passions and an amusing friendship.
- Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Nikola Tesla shared a friendship starting in 1890s.
- Tesla read a lot of early Twain when recovering from a serious illness.
- The two shared an interest in electricity.
In Tesla's Lab. 1894. Mark Twain holds Tesla's vacuum lamp, powered by a loop of wire that gets electromagnetic energy from a Tesla coil. Tesla's face is in the background.
In Tesla's lab. 1894. Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943, blurred at centre) is in the midst of an electrical experiment with writer Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain (1835 – 1910, left) and actor Joseph Jefferson (1829 – 1905).
Photo: Kostich/FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images
The American Museum of Natural History presents the new, more accurate T. rex.
- Hatchling, four-year-old, and adult models show us new sides of the famous predator.
- They're part of the T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit running from March 2019 to August 2020.
- Attention time travelers: You may want to pet the feathered hatchling. Don't.
Latest fossil discoveries<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTI2MzYxOC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDgzNDM0NX0.4EPr3H-7AvQWUHTkOSQZ-gLDcJzEDgaLrCFjP5K9e5A/img.gif?width=980" id="51dd9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bdf6410d0ac311b5078630429d7a0e59" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: AMNH/AMNH / R. Peterson<p>As more fossils are discovered, we learn more and more about the <em>Tyrannosauroidea</em> family. The first discovery of a feathered dinosaur, the <a href="https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/dinosaurs/fact-sheets/sinosauropteryx-prima/" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1"><em>Sinosauropteryx prima</em></a> in 1996, suggested we might've been picturing the ancient creatures, including <em>T. rex</em>, incorrectly. More recent discoveries such as the <a href="https://www.amnh.org/explore/news-blogs/on-exhibit-posts/get-to-know-a-dino-yutyrannus-huali" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1"><em>Yutyrannus huali</em></a> have only bolstered this suspicion. In addition, archeologists have begun finding <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-fossil-could-prove-or-disprove-existence-tiny-t-rex-180968639/" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">infant</a> Tyrannousaur fossils, and this has allowed the team at the AMNH, led by <a href="https://www.amnh.org/our-research/staff-directory/mark-a.-norell" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">Mark Norell</a>, to realistically imagine <em>T. rex</em> at three life stages for the "Ultimate Predator" exhibit.</p><p>Not all <em>Tyrannosaurs</em> were <em>T. rexes</em> — there were dozens of Tyrannosaur species, and no others were as large. The "Ultimate Predator" show includes a number of them, including the <a href="https://www.amnh.org/our-research/science-news2/2004/newly-discovered-primitive-tyrannosaur-found-to-be-feathered" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1"><em>Dilong paradoxus</em></a>. Most were about the size of a <em>T. rex</em> youngster as adults. They were all, however, all dangerous predators — and the AMNH exhibit will feature new representations of a variety of family members. Most <em>Tyrannousaurs</em> were fast runners, unlike the adolescent and adult <em>T. rex</em>, a slower-moving death machine. (The hatchling ran.)</p>
Informed guesswork<p>There's still a fair amount of conjecture involved, but between what's visible in the fossil record and what can be seen today in <em>T. rex's</em> living relatives, there's little doubt that experts are growing ever-closer to a complete understanding of these creatures who last roamed the earth some 68 million years ago. A lot can be inferred from these familial connections, including feeding and parenting behaviors and various as-yet-unknown physical features. For example, fossilized <em>T. rex</em> footprints are nearly identical to the modern emu, albeit bigger, and so inferences can be made about their feet.</p><p>Speaking of skin, contrary to the traditional belief that <em>T. rex's</em> skin was akin to a contemporary lizard's or snake's, experts now suspect it was actually a more leathery covering, similar to that of the foot of a chicken or the leg of a turtle.</p><p>The new AMNH models reflect the latest theories regarding every minute details of their physiognomy.</p>
The hatchling T. rex<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTI2MzYyMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMTc3NjQyN30.igooBCyEs28cAuyDTTFecrh2WpdxNopd1_urN-CfCY4/img.jpg?width=980" id="82b37" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5b8360403220f434975e15277b3fd0f6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: AMNH/D. Finnin<p> About 60 percent of <em>T. rex</em> hatchlings — about the size of turkeys — probably didn't survive to their first birthday. The downy-feathered tykes grew quickly, though, about 140 pounds a month, but it still took until they were about 20 to reach full size. Experts believe that they were quick little predators with lots of tiny, needle-like teeth. Like modern Komodo dragons, they probably fed on insects and smaller vertebrates before maturing into their grownup fare.</p>
The four-year-old T. rex<p> By the time <em>T. rex </em> was around four, it was as big as other non-<em>rex</em> <em>Tyrannosaurs</em>. (AMNH <a href="https://www.amnh.org/about-the-museum/press-center/t-rex-the-ultimate-predator-opens" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">says</a> this is about five times the size of a four-year-old human boy.) It was fully feathered, with teeth good for slicing and cutting as opposed to crushing, the speciality of the adult <em>T. rex</em>. At this stage, <em>T. rex</em> also had long arms — it's believed they stopped growing prior to reaching full size, resulting in the oddly teeny arms of the adult <em>T. rex</em>.</p>
Adult T. rex<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTI2MzYyMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDMyNTQ2N30.w5R8NlOnzSKqp93Vtn4BCq9QDnRCeUgmOQ6iF0sBzpU/img.jpg?width=980" id="36738" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="01e2062092f0d4bdf3c3a24f42d1043f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Even scarier than before? Image source: AMNH/D. Finnin<p>This is the terrifying bad boy — or girl — we know and fear, albeit likely with more feathers than you might have once thought. The monster was up to <a href="https://www.amnh.org/dinosaurs/tyrannosaurus-rex" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">40 feet long</a>, and weighed between 11,000 and 15,500 pounds.</p><p><em>T. rex's</em> banana-shaped teeth and mighty jaws could clamp down with 7,800 pounds of force — that's about the weight of three cars. It was one of very few creatures ever to be capable of pulverizing and digesting the solid bone of prey. (30–50 percent of <em>T. rex</em> coprolites, fossilized poop, is actually crushed bone.)</p><p>If that wasn't enough, we now know that <em>T. rex</em> <a href="https://www.amnh.org/about-the-museum/press-center/t-rex-the-ultimate-predator-opens" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">senses were super-sharp</a>. Orange-sized eyes faced forward, hawk-like, and were set far enough apart that <em>T. rex</em> had great depth vision. Examination of its brain casings suggests an exceptional sense of smell and of hearing, too.</p><p>The new exhibit has a shadow-theater floor projection of one of these nightmares coming to life.</p>
The exhibit<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PpxevS5MSjM" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>If you're fortunate enough to visit the AMNH for the <a href="https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/t-rex-the-ultimate-predator" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1"><em>T. rex: The Ultimate Predator</em></a> exhibit, you'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal — safely — with <em>T. rex</em>.</p> <ul> <li>They'll have a definitive life-sized model of an adult <em>T. rex</em>, replete with patches of feathers.</li> <li>There will be several hatchling reconstructions, as well as a four-year-old <em>T. rex</em>.</li> <li>A "roar mixer" will allow visitors to construct their own <em>T. rex</em> roars by combining the vocalization of related animals.</li> <li>You can wander through an interactive Cretaceous environment.</li> <li>Dig in at a fossil "investigation station" with all the tools a paleontologist could want: a CT scanner, measuring tools, and a microscope.</li> </ul>
Millions of Americans didn't vote during the midterms — excuses there are many. Some are valid.
- Usually, only about 40 percent of eligible voters participate in midterm elections.
- Political philosopher John Stuart Mill believed it would be for the collective good if everybody voted.
- Because of logistics, we may need to change the time of year we vote.