June 12, 2020

Weekend reads: A link between rejecting social distancing and psychopathy?

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Ignoring social distancing guidelines could mean you're a psychopath. A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science has found that people with "dark traits" like psychopathy were more likely to ignore guidelines meant to curb the new coronavirus' spread. For the study, researchers surveyed 502 adults in the United States and found that the group of respondents who rejected the guidelines had higher rates of psychopathic traits, such as neuroticism, disinhibition, and meanness. "People scoring high on these traits tended to claim that, if they had Covid-19, they might knowingly or deliberately expose others to it," Pavel Blagov, author of the study and director of the Personality Laboratory at Whitman College, said.

    Why tests for a new coronavirus vaccine need blood from horseshoe crabs. For years, drugmakers have turned to the blood of horseshoe crabs to test injectable medicines for endotoxins, a dangerous bacteria. Writing for the New York Times, James Gorman outlines how horseshoe crab blood helps expose endotoxins—and how conservationists and some businesses are trying to develop an alternative test to protect the crabs.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    Is speaking Japanese connected to a lower risk of coronavirus transmission? Japan has experienced fewer cases of SARS and Covid-19, diseases that are caused by separate coronaviruses, than many other countries, leading researchers to wonder whether the way people speak certain languages could affect the transmission of certain viruses. Now, experts are trying to determine if there's something about the Japanese language in particular that produces fewer viral particles than others.

    The new coronavirus is still a threat. States throughout America are lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening nonessential businesses, leading some people to resume social gatherings at restaurants while others crowd the streets to protest racial injustice. But, writing for The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal urges Americans to recognize that the new coronavirus remains a public health threat that can infect anyone—with "no consideration for morality."

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