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Health Main Money

Rishi Sunak’s 80% + Universal Basic Income

Today the UK declared the closure of cafes, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres. And to help the employees of the affected industries the Chancellor of the Exchequer – Rishi Sunak – announced that the government will pay 80% of their salary for the foreseeable future so that they neither lose their jobs or struggle too much financially. It’s a bold and expensive move that will cost the taxpayer hundreds of billions of pounds and take decades to pay off. But I think it’s the right move.

And after watching the press conference for these announcements I turned to my Mum and said that Rishi Sunak is the only high-level UK politician currently responding appropriately and sensibly during the coronavirus crisis. James Kirkup of the Spectator agrees:

In some ways, it’s easy and even important to keep Rishi Sunak’s performance in announcing his coronavirus job retention scheme in perspective. It should, after all, be pretty easy to be popular in politics when you are offering to spend literally limitless amounts of money protecting people from economic hardship. […]

But even taking those things into account, I still consider Sunak’s performance one of the most impressive I’ve seen from a British politician in more than 20 years in and around Westminster.


With so many governments helping out their citizens finanically at the moment universal basic income (UBI) has appeared in the news several times. I’m still unconvinced by some of the maths and theory behind UBI but I do wonder if the coronavirus crisis will be the catalyst for more UBI adoption worldwide in the same way that the catalyst for the UK’s universal health care – the NHS – was World War II.

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Health Link

‘Why Britain’s Coronavirus Strategy is Literally One of the Most Insane Things in Modern History’

Did you see a small problem between the British government’s definition of herd immunity…and what it actually is? Herd immunity is — the real thing — what happens after enough members of a population have been vaccinated. It’s not…just letting an entire nation be rampaged by a lethal virus for which there’s no vaccine. […]

The human species never developed “herd immunity” to polio or smallpox or any virus, really — ever, despite millennia of death and illness and misery. Why not? Because herd immunity depends on vaccines. We vaccinate a large number of people, and then all of us are protected, because transmission rates are reduced (among other things.) Let me make the point again. The human race never developed herd immunity to a lethal virus, precisely because herd immunity is not something that emerges naturally. What happens, instead, when we let a virus simply take its course? What happened with smallpox and polio: they just rampage through populations, forever.

Read more.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 46, 2019

Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep” Is Riddled with Scientific and Factual Errors

A great in-depth look at some of the exaggerations in the book “Why We Sleep”. Sometimes when reading long articles like this I think to myself ‘wow, these people must be so efficient and fast to be able to knock out a piece like this’. Well it turns out that nope, it’s just good old-fashioned hard work:

I spent more than 130 hours over the last 2 months researching and writing this essay (~5 hours to write the outline; ~60 hours to get to the first draft; ~65 hours to edit and fact-check), which constituted essentially all of my surplus free time over this time period.

Trump, Biden, Sanders: How Old Is Too Old to Be President?

Concerns about politicians’ ages are not limited to presidential candidates. The average senator is 62. Mitch McConnell, the 77-year-old Senate majority leader, is already past the U.S.-male life expectancy. If the country were to deem, say, the Social Security retirement age of 66 as the mandatory cutoff for a career in politics, it would amount to a total overhaul of government. It would eliminate not just the top four presidential candidates, but much of Congress.

How the Dumb Design of a WWII Plane Led to the Macintosh

At first, pilots took the blame for crashes. The true cause, however, lay with the design. That lesson led us into our user-friendly age—but there’s peril to come.

Meet the Cybertruck, Tesla’s Ford-Fighting Pickup

I’m not sure if I love and loathe the look of it. Either way, it’s attention grabbing. I think it will look even more extreme when out on the road and alongside ‘normal’ cars.

‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims

More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Forgiveness, Peace, and Productivity

The surest way for me to not get anything done is to get overwhelmed by the guilt of not getting anything done. I’ve worked for years to solve this little quandary, and I’ve found a key element in the solution: forgiveness.