COVID vaccine: Where does freedom end and civic duty begin?

Instead of insisting that we remain "free from" government control, we should view taking vaccines and wearing masks as a "freedom to" be a moral citizen who protects the lives of others.

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  • Now that the vaccine is becoming widely available, why do so many insist on not taking it?
  • As different episodes in history have illustrated — including the building of an atomic bomb in the U.S. – true freedom is to choose to place the well-being of your family, community, and country above your own personal values.
  • We shouldn't confuse the privilege of choice with a threat to personal freedom. In threatening times, our best defense is to act together to the benefit of all.
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Retrain your brain for long-term thinking

Escaping the marshmallow brain trap.

  • Roman Krznaric, philosopher and author of the book "The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking," says that there are two parts of the human brain that are driving our decisions and ultimately determining what kind of legacy we leave behind for future generations.
  • Short-term thinking happens in the marshmallow brain (named after the famous Stanford marshmallow test), while long term thinking and strategizing occurs in the acorn brain. By retraining ourselves to use the acorn brain more often, we can ensure that trillions of people—including our grandchildren and their grandchildren—aren't inheriting a depleted world and the worst traits that humankind has to offer.
  • "At the moment we're using on average 1.6 planet earths each year in terms of our ecological footprint," says Krznaric, but that doesn't mean that it's too late to turn things around. Thinking long term about things like politics and education can help "rebuild our imaginations of what a civilization could be."

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If you hate your job, blame the Agricultural Revolution

Hunter-gatherers probably had more spare time than you.

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  • For the species Homo sapiens, the Agricultural Revolution was a good deal, allowing the population to grow and culture to advance. But was it a good deal for individuals?
  • Hunter-gatherers likely led lives requiring far less daily work than farmers, leading one anthropologist to call them the "original affluent society."
  • The transition from hunter-gatherers to farmers may have occurred as a kind of trap in which the possibility of surplus during good years created population increases that had to be maintained.
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It pays to be tolerant: Dutch national identity

"It's not always about agreement, more often it's about business."

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The roots of Dutch tolerance run deep. Perhaps its sources are to be found in centuries old Calvinist prescriptions, according to which everyone has the right to interpret the Bible in their own way.

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Long-retracted papers are still cited in major journals

The retraction crisis has morphed into a citation crisis.

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  • Even after scientific papers are retracted, hundreds of studies cite them as evidence.
  • Roughly four retractions occur per 10,000 publications, mostly in medicine, life sciences, and chemistry journals.
  • Journals should implement control measures that block the publication of papers that cite retracted papers.
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