12 min read

The Crunch No. 140: Between Two Breaths

Plus, a skin-growing machine, flying transformer cars, a 'green pivot' by a fossil fuels tycoon, and good news on malaria in China, a global tax agreement, LGBTQI+ rights in Canada, and conservation in the Balkans.
The Crunch No. 140: Between Two Breaths

This is the members only edition of Future Crunch, a weekly roundup of good news, mind-blowing science, and the best bits of the internet (not necessarily in that order). One third of your subscription fee goes to charity.


Good news you probably didn't hear about


A gentle reminder that as of Tuesday this week, over three billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the world. Most media outlets are focusing on how badly the rollout is going, and while those criticisms are valid in some countries (8% in four months is hard to spin, even for Scotty From Marketing), globally the numbers tell a very different story. Not that you'd know it from the headlines, but the pace is picking up: it took 20 weeks to give out the first billion doses, but only four to give out the last billion.

This is easily the biggest and fastest vaccination effort in human history. Our species has never done anything remotely like this before. The manufacturing and distribution challenges are unfathomably hard, and that's before you get to the all-too-human problems of bureaucratic screwups, political cynicism, and a natural distrust of any new technology. Given the obstacles, it's amazing that we've got this far, this quickly. Perhaps a moment of appreciation is in order?

health worker vaccinating man
A villager receives a dose of COVID vaccine during a door-to-door drive in West Bengal, India on Monday 21st June, one of 8.6 million doses administered on that day. 

A moment of appreciation too, for a successful, multi-generational effort to eliminate malaria in China. It's the 40th nation in the world to achieve malaria-free status, and the first in the western Pacific region in 30 years. Not bad for a country that used to report 30 million cases per year in the 1940s. Some good news from Tanzania too, which will allow pregnant girls and teen mothers the opportunity to resume secondary education, overturning a 4-year ban that prevented thousands from finishing their studies.

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