The Grey Swan Guild News Wrap — The Week That Was April 16, 2021 — “The Week of The Swan”
The Day of the Swan Edition: #13 of Vol. 1
This week marked a seminal period and turnabout on a number of different fronts:
- The world is climbing out of its COVID doldrums by getting the most vulnerable of its populations vaccinated.
- Exactly 400 days later, the New York Philarmonic returned to crowds, as did many other entertainment & sporting events.
- Spring is in the air, crowds are returning and company optimism is up.
On a more introspective milestone, our Guild had its 1st year anniversary on April 15th and proudly displayed its plumage and colours on a 24 hour round- the-clock experience crafted as The Day of the Swan. A hearty bugle call of congrats to all those who organized, spoke at and attended the event. We will upload all videos and summarize the event later this week.
There is a new spring in our step as we turn the page onto our second year. These are the series of stories and headlines we are tracking in the Grey Swan Guild’s Global League of Sensemakers’ Newsroom. The selections and the news wrap are intended to shed light and a new lens on a complicated and complex world week.
April is Amateur Radio Day. The day commemorates the formation of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) back in 1925. With that same spirit of these early radio pioneers, the Grey Swan Guild has expanded into its 7th social channel — Clubhouse — an intriguing fast-expanding audio -meets-social network platform (currently only available on iOS devices but with 10M weekly active users up from 600k users in December, we presume it will extend to Android soon). We talk about this news wrap with our team of editors 11am ET every Sunday on Clubhouse.
The Great 😇
1.Los Angeles welcoming back the trout! The last steelhead was caught back in 1948 in Los Angeles River. Since then the pavement of waterways and rerouting of tributaries to affect flood controls has left trout isolated in mountains unable to return back to sea. Local, state and federal agencies are working on slowing down the flow of water, creating natural still pools and unblocking arteries for fish to travel back upstream and downstream for the first time in 70 years. If fish can return to the City of Angels, a modern North American metropolis of 13 million people, where can’t nature return back to? (Source: Good News Network)
2. Crossing the blood barrier with neuro-bots. Some innovation is large and very apparent, and other breakthroughs are on an infinitesimally small, nano scale. This one is in the latter category. Chinese researchers have been able to disguise bio-hybrid microbots to provide important medication to inoperable brain tumours. Since 1995, we’ve been able to find things that can cross the blood-brain barriers (BBB) that typically allows most good stuff to pass through (water, glucose and amino acids )and keeps the pathogens out. Now in a breakthrough of bio-medicine, researchers are disguising iron oxide chemotherapy medication within a neutrophil Trojan horse, and direct & propel groups of these neurobots to race to the brain and deliver their actives. Early results in mice are promising. Will this spell the end to harsh general chemotherapy and/or maybe cancer in our time? (Source: Futuretimeline.net)
3. We’re going to the moon. Elon Musk’s SpaceX just won a $2.9 Billion contact from NASA to take people eventually to the moon (including a woman and person of color). It beat out Bezos’ Blue Origin company and other traditional manufacturers. NASA’s Artemis program sets in motion an accelerated plan to get astronauts to the moon with a Musk-desired 2023 manned mission. First tests are promising and by using private companies, NASA is able to deliver on costs. Unlike the Apollo program. this proposal will send a reusable Starship with a separate smaller Orion capsule. As termed by the New York Times article, it’s like travelling to the moon in a yacht and coming back on a much larger cruise ship. It’s all part of a decade-long attempt to test our way to the much further out (666x further out) Mars. (Source: New York Times)
The Good 😀
1.Immunization against all types of coronavirus variants. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is in phase 1 clinical trials to test a vaccine that protects against all types of SARS-COV-2 and potentially other coronaviruses. The nanoparticle test drug SpFN induces highly potent and broadly neutralizing antibody responses against the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, as well as three major SARS-CoV-2 variants and SARS-CoV-1 virus. 72 humans have started to receive the drug last week. If we effectively got rid of polio over 80 years in North America, can we get rid of all Corona variants at a much faster pace too? (Source: Eureka Alert)
2. The job market has returned back to pre-pandemic levels. February/March were strong months in getting the employment market back on the rails. In fact, so much so, that the Canadian economy has gained all but 296k of the three million jobs that were lost to the pandemic. Job gains for the most recent month have blown through economist’s expectations by a healthy margin. Similar trends were found in the U.K. market, the Australian market, the U.S. Market and the Germany market. Will Wave III of this coronavirus set this back or have we learned to finally deal with the uncertainty of the pandemic while maintaining employment? (Source: Financial Post)
3. Intelligence — animals & humans, we’re not so different You have heard of IQ, and perhaps EQ, but what about AQ. Animal Intelligence. Pigs are playing video games. Bees are playing golf. Orangutans talk about the past and are able to mimic human speech. Parrots can pass intelligence tests. Mice and rats are competing for ape-like intelligence. Crows hold grudges and recognize faces. Apparently when you call somebody bird-brained, it’s actually now a compliment. Perhaps humans need to reshape the context of where they sit in their environments and have a more empathetic view of our animal cousins (of course that is, if we really think we’re smarter). Researchers are trying to test animal intelligence in different ways to assess intelligence that goes beyond the human construct of intelligence. If you really want to look at animal intelligence and reason, go farther down the road of Darwin and rethink how the entire world of animals is thinking, grab an hour with the experts here. (Source: New Scientist)
The Bad 😬
1.The Sixth Extinction? Perhaps not yet, but researchers have reconsidered what humans have done to their environments more intensively than satellite photos. Previously we thought, 20–40% of the planet had been undisturbed by humans, now it’s thought it’s as low as 3%. The undisturbed areas are confined to parts of the Amazon and Congo tropical forests, east Siberian and northern Canadian forests and tundra, and the Sahara. When you consider how well the Serengeti ecosystem works, you realize how unique and valuable these rare undisturbed places actually are. It’s led to 50 countries signing onboard to protecting nearly one-third of the land and oceans by 2030. One of the big conclusions of the study was to reintroduce species into their original habitats as has been done with wolves successfully in Yellowstone Park to control deer and elk populations. (Source: The Guardian)
2. CRISPR and gene editing might not be so precise. Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute (FCI) looked back at previous CRISPR studies— and found that an alarming 16 percent contained unintended gene edits. It is a cautionary tale for ensuring regulation of gene editing operations and home labs, particularly as it relates to human embryos. Taking down the wrong road, CRISPR DNA resequencing, removal, replacement or reinsertion can lead to cancers or other harmful consequences. It also is forcing scientists to go back and restate previously considered successful CRISPR experiments as false positives. (Source: Futurism)
3. The political CEO — the too-cushy relationship between the corner office and the oval office. The Economist served up some of the increasing and worrying consequences of the statesman CEO, intensive lobbying efforts and even collections of CEOs standing up for noble causes — as an increasing sign of American institutional decay. These efforts used to be active but managed by the “back-room”, now entire strategies are being built our around CEO activism. Tim Cook of Apple, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A and James Dimon of JP Morgan Chase have all prominently spoken out on political and social issues. Although CEOs are being asked to weigh in on a wider variety of purpose-drive topics, even with “good” consequences, the closer they get to the government, the more harm they threaten to both the economy and politics. It also is a challenge to stakeholders of companies who need to serve entire global audiences of all stripes, as Michael Jordan once stated “even Republicans buy shoes”. (Source: The Economist)
The Ugly 😱
1.Health care collapse is imminent in Brazil and two different pandemic fates of South America. Brazil is set to run out of intubation drugs to take care of its COVID-19 patients. Already the home to about a quarter of the COVID-19 deaths around the world, Brazil has been rampant with the outbreak experiencing 66,000 deaths in March (over double the previous monthly high) and experiencing daily deaths at 4,000 people a day in early April. With no lockdown procedures in place, no social distancing and dubious treatments advocated, the virus is on a runaway trajectory. Additionally, 92 different variants of the virus have been detected across the country — this could spell disaster. The fear is that deaths may escalate to 600,000 in the country by July, 2021. With only 15 million doses of the vaccine for a country of 211 million people, the end of coronavirus in the country seems a long way off. Conversely, there have been different more favourable experiences with other South American countries — Chile most notably is ranked #3 around the world for vaccinating its population, but still has recently experienced recent spikes in COVID given an opening up of public spaces. It would appear global travel delay and vaccine diplomacy will be increasingly in the spotlight over the next year as 700 million South American need to be vaccinated before the epidemic is under control. (Source: Reuters)
2. A new epidemic — Silicosis. You know that great shiny countertop you have just placed into your kitchen — it may be causing a spike in construction worker deaths. Artificial stone containing 95% silica (vs. natural stone that may have around around 40%) is causing silicosis — an incurable disease causing the scarring of the lungs and hampering the ability to breathe. It can be terminal, although life can be prolonged with a lung transplant. 107 cases have been measured in New South Wales, up from 9 just two years before. The fibers are inhaled by workers during the uncontrolled cutting, sanding, polishing and grinding of the stone and are leading to a proposed gradual ban on the product over the next three years in Australia. Yet another case of over-engineering what nature doesn’t want us to have. (Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
3. The US National Embarrassment — mass gun shootings. Once again, a mass shooting has rung out in Indianapolis this week killing eight at a FedEx facility. It was the fifth such U.S. mass shooting in the last five weeks. With 43,539 Americans dying of gun violence in 2020, it really is a calamity of the national conscience. Taken into perspective, that’s almost three times as many traffic fatalities in 2020. And while we have speed limits, ride checks and highway safety, relatively little regulation exists for handguns (which can be purchased for $200) or assault weapons ($1500). It is a uniquely American challenge and a blot on the country’s image as there are 1.2 guns for every household and 42% of households who have a gun in their house. Despite opinion polls that have overwhelmingly supported stricter gun controls over the last thirty years, only ten states and hardly any federal laws govern their use. It would appear that the past will repeat itself without any teeth into regulation for assault weapons and handguns, as the U.S. experiences one mass shooting (defined as 4 people being shot at the same time and place) every day. Here are some charts below that define the scope of the issue. (Source: BBC)
Term of the Week
Jab: As governments and thought leaders try to encourage populations to get vaccinated, the use of term “jab” has cropped up in recent weeks. Why have a painful needle, or foreboding injection when you can have a considerably more friendly jab? The term has descended from the Scottish onomatopoeic word “job” meaning bird pecks and subsequently then a poking or thrusting action. Now you know — now get your jab.
Photo of the Week — The GiRaft
Nine highly endangered species of Rothschild’s giraffes (only 3,000 are left in the world, and having dwindled by 80% over last three decades) were evacuated from a sinking island in Kenya’s Lake Baringo and evacuated to a 198 square kilometer Ruko Conservancy as a conservation effort between the Njemps and Pokot communities in conflict. “Ruko is an example of how much peace is linked to everything else — conservation, livelihoods, business, gender equality, governance”.
Meme of the Week: Vaccine Window Shopping
For the first time ever, general practitioners are experiencing the consumerism of health care with people specifically asking and avoiding the AstraZeneca virus which has seen a trace amount of people experiencing blood clots.
Videos of the Week
A sobering wakeup call on what we are doing to our world, Exploring Time Lapse in Google Earth exposes a generation of environmental degradation in a number of flavours —sometimes truths are undeniably visual as Google makes us look at the last 37 years of:changing forests, fragile beauty, sources of energy, warming planet and Uurban expansion.
Grey Swan Authors:
The Grey Swan Newsroom Team:
That’s the Wrap! What’s Your Idea?
See you next week for Edition #14 and also coverage mid-week on what went down during the April 15th/16th Day of the Swan!
We will also be having a “What’s Your Idea” Sensemaker Salon session this week Wednesday April 21st at 4pm ET.
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Visit our Medium channel every Friday for a weekly wrap on the world’s biggest challenges and other fresh articles and points of view The Grey Swan Guild is sharing. Please drop by our Grey Swan Guild website (greyswanguild.org) for more publications and articles about how we make sense of the world ongoing and also the raft of possibilities to participate as a Sensemaker. Apply today.
Grey Swan Guild — Making Sense of What’s Next
Every 2nd and last Wednesday of every month we onboard new members with the co-founders of the guild.
We call these sessions Regattas and Bank & Wedge sessions. Why don’t you come find out what it is all about and perhaps join our movement? This March & April represent our biggest growth phase in the Guild ever so ride our wave and come alongside our 2nd thousand of members who flock in.
Our mission is to Make Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, sensemaking and analysis . Our proposition is to inspire the world to think differently through Sensemaking intelligence, The Foundry learning and The Leader’s Alliance business activation realms — it’s the Grey Swan Guild Way 🦢