1. Fair Harvard, you continue to be an embarrassment. This is a candidate to make it into my “why I’m boycotting my reunion” note for the Class book: Giang Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services, sent a campus-wide memo telling students to follow these rules while eating and socializing in the dining halls. (I learned more eating in the dining halls and in late night snack sessions than I did in my classes):
“Eating and drinking together are a cornerstone of human social interaction, but there are ways to interact that minimize the time spent unmasked and in close proximity,” Nguyen wrote.
Among his requests to students:
- Follow the “Quick Sip Rule” when drinking. Lower your mask, take a sip, and then promptly cover your mouth and nose. A straw can make this more efficient.
- Do not linger with your mask down. If you wish to slowly savor a hot beverage, do it away from others.
- Consume and cover! Consume your meal and immediately mask up when done.
- Conversation, checking your phone, and other activities should be masked, even when you are in a designated indoor dining area.
- If you are taking your time between bites (for conversation, for example), put your mask back on.
- Dine in small parties of 2-to-4 people.
- Avoid table-hopping.
- Consider dining consistently with the same small group of people rather than a different group at every meal of the day.
- Keep your close contacts to a minimum.
- Limit each interaction to under 15 minutes.
- Plan events that don’t involve eating, drinking, or removal of masks
My advice to the author of such a “request” were I a student today: “Bite me. Then put your mask on.” Harvard has a 94 percent vaccination rate among its students. As of this week, its test positivity rate is 0.18 percent.
2. Fake Woolly Mammoth ethics. This article managed to go on at great length about how a new company is planning to “de-extinctify” Wooly Mammoths and start new herds in Siberia as if it all made perfect sense. They’ve fooled private investors into giving them $15 million for the project: this is a scam, whether they know it or not. As far as the Times piece goes, it rates an ethics foul for never once mentioning “Jurassic Park.” Come to think of it, the article should have mentioned “The Producers.” Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D, and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, explains just how absurd the project is:
“What they are doing is making a genetically modified Asian elephant by inserting into its genome a maximum of sixty mammoth genes that they think differentiate the modern species from the extinct one: genes that involve hairiness, cold tolerance, amount of fat, and so on. What they’d get would be a genetic chimera, an almost entirely Asian elephant but one that is hairier, chunkier, and more tolerant of cold. That is NOT a woolly mammoth, nor would it behave like a woolly mammoth, for they’re not inserting behavior genes…Further, a lot of other genes differ between a mammoth and an Asian elephant. What guarantee is there that the inserted mammoth genes would be expressed correctly, or even work at all in concert with the Asian elephant developmental system? But it gets worse. Since you can’t implant a transgenic embryo into an elephant mom (we don’t know how to do that, and we would get just one or two chances), [the group] has this bright idea…’make an artificial mammoth uterus lined with uterine tissue grown from stem cells.’