sebi: Tighter initial margin norms from Dec 1 may hit
sebi: Tighter initial margin norms from Dec 1 may hit
Margin Trading - TaxDose.com
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Margin Trading: The New Tighter Rule by SEBI (Dec 2020
Sebi postpones new margin rules to December 1 - Times of India
AMTX, and a new style of DD from me
I hope your day is going well. This post might take a while to read, so sit back and be prepared to dedicate a little bit of time on this one. I promise you, this stuff is worth it to learn. Firstly, a recap of my progress so far trading pennystocks. I think my friend (more on this later) who introduced me to this subreddit did so on April 15th, not sure though. Here's where I'm at after 2.5 months of trading: https://preview.redd.it/co0o0qig92e51.png?width=795&format=png&auto=webp&s=c96713953f9a8c4fc66823719487e32c17c3b180 If you're familiar with my style of trading, you know that I risk small amounts, 5% per trade. However, I've started implementing a new strategy, where I scale into the position as the price moves in my favor, while at the same time eliminating the risk. it quite quickly compounds the tendies bro. All you have to do is adjust your stop loss higher as you buy more shares.
I've been trading with a great friend of mine. We became best bros in third grade when we both got accepted into the 'Gifted & Talented' program. He wishes to remain anonymous so that's as much as I'll say. Here is his fundamental analysis of AMTX: Ok so AMTX: last earnings call went well, they are a recycling company that is on the ground floor of recycling in India, also in California. They do biofuels like ethanol, that see good bumps when gas usage goes up and stays in the 40-60/barrel range. They held a Q/A in last earnings call in which they stated they anticipate the margins for ethanol profits to increase since some states are pushing for 15% ethanol blend over the current 10%, and studies have found that up to 20% is fine in vehicles. They also stated if they need to raise the stock price, they will do so with stock buy back, not reverse split. California is giving them grants for their recycling work, and they recently got 4 farms online for natural gas refinements, with 14 more signed up and should be connected to their plant soon. 4Q 2019 saw 52.1Mil revenue vs 38.8mil in 4Q 2018. Net loss was 7.7 mil for 4q2019, vs 11.4mil 4q2018. Revenue for 2019 202mil, 2018 was 171.5mil. They have the support of California regulators, and California Low Carbon Fuel standard is in their favor. They got their biodiesel plant in India up, all debt paid off, maintained 100% ownership with no dilution, and plan to use proceeds to pay down other debt and fund further renewable fuels projects. Expected revenue once india plant is at 100% production is 300mil from that plant alone. Planned biorefinery in California, with tax break of 12.5 mil offsetting equity, $125 mil from USDofAg. Expected revenue of $80mil, construction begins once engineering and procurement work is complete. I dont think its a 1400% runner, but they are doing good work, progressing towards significant revenue, and profit. And are the only company in all of India, and are in good with California, 2 huge biofuels markets. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Ok now back to me, this is how we trade it. I apologize that I didn't post this sooner. I posted about taking this trade at $1.03 on my profile this morning.
HOW TO TRADE AMTX
Here is the chart that I made last night. I wanted to stay up and post all of this late last night but I fell asleep instead. You can see a lot going on here. The bro listed like seven different good things, and now we have like seven more good things. Truly inspirational. Great stock.
Golden Cross: On the daily chart, you can see those EMAs have crossed. And you can also see that the price had already broken out at the point. My friend and I are working on finding these slightly sooner, ideally for this one would've been in the $0.90 range, but hey, we don't need to capture 100% of the move.
You can see, that there were three seperate days where the price spiked, being held down by the 200ema each time. Anytime you see that, it is a very bullish sign.
It is also breaking out of the pennant that it created (red triangle)
The original entry for me was $1.03, with a stop loss at $0.91 and three seperate targets. It has already hit two of those, which brings the monthly fib extension target of $2.05 into play.
I have already exited half of my position and have a stop loss in profit so that I'm not losing any money and I've already secured the tendies
Here is the new chart, and what we can look for moving forward.
https://preview.redd.it/vokxj6wuf2e51.png?width=1828&format=png&auto=webp&s=df50c79a7210633d2fa8db03cff9a6ce225e0760 You can see that today was a bearish daily candle. However, look at the previous day's wick. It spiked through that monthly resistance and the weekly resistance above that. It is totally normal for a retracement in this area. And today's candle didnt even close within the body of the previous candle. The first potential trade is an entry anywhere below or at $1.18, or you could wait for a dip down to $1.12 depending on your style. I never wait for dips though because I'm impatient in trading sometimes. A stop loss of $1.07 would be sufficient imo. Underneath the weekly support at $1.12. If you don't know how to calculate position sizing yet, please learn before entering your next trade. The first target is a fibonacci 127 extension at $1.45. I will be looking to add positions here if i see bullish consolidation underneath monthly resistance at $1.40. The second target is at $1.70, which is a wick fill play off of that previous spike. It's also monthly resistance.
Edit: Thank you for all the comments and chat messages! I'm trying to go through each one. Writing thoughtful comments in the midst of having a full-time job is HARD WORK. I think I've missed a few questions, drop me a message if you're interested in continuing a discussion, I'm open to listening! There has been a lot of good comments, a few with great perspectives, and now I have a whole lot of things to read up on. --- Now that the 2020 General Election is firmly in our rear-view mirror, there is something that I have been meaning to write about: institutionalized racism affecting the minorities, especially the Malays, in Singapore. If you are groaning at this thinking you have been misled by this post’s title, I assure you that by the end of this post you will understand the caveat behind the above-mentioned title. I plead for a little of your time and patience. We have seen many discussions online about majority privilege and systemic racism impacting the minorities. Many of you may have even participated in some of these discussions. I will not try to explain those terms for they have already been repeatedly debated to death. What this post aims to achieve is to bring to light Singapore’s history and government policies that have either benefited the majority race or kneecapped the minority race. Or both. Why am I doing this? It is frustrating to see some Singaporeans fully buying into the narrative that Singapore is a truly meritocratic society; that the government’s policies do not discriminate against minorities, or if a Singaporean worked hard enough he or she will succeed (whatever the definition of success is), or that we have anti-discriminatory laws that protect the minorities. Some even claim that the Malays enjoy special privileges due to Section 152 of the Constitution describing the special position of Malays, and that the Malays are blessed with free education in Singapore. Section 152, “Special Position”, free education for all Malays?
Minorities and special position of Malays 152.—(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore. (2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.
"The aim of the government is not to turn out a few well-educated youths, nor a number of less well-educated boys; rather it is to improve the bulk of the people, and to make the son of a fisherman or a peasant a more intelligent fisherman or peasant than his father had been, and a man whose education will enable him to understand how his lot in life fits in with the scheme of life around him".
"The great object of education is to train a man to make a living.... you can teach Malays so that they do not lose their skill and craft in fishing and jungle work. Teach them the dignity of manual labour, so that they do not all become krannies (clerks) and I am sure you will not have the trouble which has arisen in India through over education"
World's Largest Drug Cartel: THe British Empire; Details on 2 opium wars fought in China, FORCING DRUGS into China, creating tens of millions of addicts. Forcing China to CEDE 6 cities after losing the opium war. By Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn
This is one of the better articles I have found on the Opium Wars: -Hong Kong remained under British control until 1997 because of the opium wars and the Opium trade. -2,000 tonnes of Opium per year imported into China by 1840, 6,500 tonnes imported by 1880 +20,000 tonnes of domestic production -Hundreds of thousands killed by British soldiers to protect the opium trade -Starvation in India caused by opium production taking all of the farm land. (Excerpt) For the full article click the link https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/01/the-us-opium-wars-china-burma-and-the-cia/ (....) The opium poppy was not native to Southeast Asia but was introduced by Arab traders in the seventh century AD. The habit of opium smoking didn’t take hold till the seventeenth century, when it was spread by the Spanish and Dutch, who used opium as a treatment for malaria. The Portuguese became the first to profit from the importing of opium into China from the poppy fields in its colonies in India. After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the British East India Company took over the opium monopoly and soon found it to be an irresistible source of profit. By 1772 the new British governor, Warren Hastings, was auctioning off opium-trading concessions and encouraging opium exports to China. Such exports were already generating £500,000 a year despite the strenuous objections of the Chinese imperial government. As early as 1729 the Chinese emperor Yung Cheng had issued an edict outlawing opium smoking. The sanctions for repeat offenders were stern: many had their lips slit. In 1789 the Chinese outlawed both the import and domestic cultivation of opium, and invoked the death penalty for violators. It did little good. Inside China these prohibitions merely drove the opium trade underground, making it a target of opportunity for Chinese secret societies such as the powerful Green Circles Gang, from whose ranks Chiang Kai-shek was later to emerge. These bans did not deter the British, who continued shipping opium by the ton into the ports of Canton and Shanghai, using what was to become a well-worn rationale: “It is evident that the Chinese could not exist without the use of opium, and if we do not supply their necessary wants, foreigners will.” Between 1800 and 1840 British opium exports to China increased from 350 tons to more than 2,000 tons a year. In 1839 the Chinese Emperor Tao Kwang sent his trade commissioner Lin Tze-su to Canton to close the port to British opium ships. Lin took his assignment seriously, destroying tons of British opium on the docks in Canton, thus igniting the Opium Wars of 1839–42 and 1856. In these bloody 📷campaigns the British forced China open to the opium trade, meanwhile slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Chinese, a slaughter assisted by the fact by 1840 there were 15 million opium addicts in China, 27 percent of the adult male population, including much of the Chinese military. After the first Opium War, as part of the treaty of Nanking China had to pay the British government £6 million in compensation for the opium destroyed by Lin in Canton. In all essential respects Shanghai thereafter became a western colony. In 1858 China officially legalized sales and consumption of opium. The British hiked their Indian opium exports to China, which by 1880 reached 6,500 tons, an immensely profitable business that established the fortunes of such famous Hong Kong trading houses as Jardine, Matheson. Meanwhile, the Chinese gangs embarked on a program of import substitution, growing their poppy crops particularly in Szechwan and Hunan provinces. Labor was plentiful and the poppies were easy to grow and cheap to transport – and the flowers were also three times more valuable as a cash crop than rice or wheat. The British did not take kindly to this homegrown challenge to their Indian shipments, and after the crushing of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 they forced the Chinese government to start a program to eradicate the domestic crop, a program that by 1906 had finished off opium cultivation in the whole of Hunan province. It was at this point that the Chinese gangs shifted their opium cultivation southward into the Shan States of Burma and into Indochina, making the necessary arrangements with the French colonial administration, which held the monopoly on opium growing there. Hill tribes in Indochina and Burma were conscripted to the task of cultivation, with the gangs handling trafficking and distribution. The suppression campaign run by the Chinese government had the effect of increasing the demand for processed opium products such as morphine and heroin. Morphine had recently been introduced to the Chinese mainland by Christian missionaries, who used the drug to win converts and gratefully referred to their morphine as Jesus opium. There was also a distinct economic advantage to be realized from the sale of heroin and morphine, which were cheap to produce and thus had much higher profit margins than opium. Despite mounting international outrage, the British government continued to dump opium into China well into the first two decades of the twentieth century. Defenders of the traffic argued that opium smoking was “less deleterious” to the health of Chinese addicts than morphine, which was being pressed on China, the officials noted pointedly, by German and Japanese drug firms. The British opium magnates also recruited scientific studies to back up their claims. One paper, written by Dr. H. Moissan and Dr. F. Browne, purported to show that opium smoking produced “only a trifling amount of morphia” and was no more injurious than the inhalation of tobacco smoke. After the opium wars reached their bloody conclusion and China was pried fully open to European trade, the coastal city of Shanghai rapidly became the import/export capital of China and its most westernized city. A municipal opium monopoly had been established in 1842, allowing the city’s dozens of opium-smoking dens to be leased out to British merchants. This situation prevailed until 1918, when the British finally bowed to pressure from the government of Sun Yat-sen and relinquished their leases. This concession did little to quell the Shanghai drug market, which duly fell into the hands of Chinese secret societies such as the notorious Green Circles Gang, which, under the leadership of Tu Yueh-shing, came to dominate the narcotics trade in Shanghai for the next thirty years, earning the gang lord the title of King of Opium. Tu acquired a taste for the appurtenances of American gangsters, eventually purchasing Al Capone’s limousine, which he proudly drove around the streets of Nanking and Hong Kong. Tu was extraordinarily skilled both as a muscle man and an entrepreneur. When the authorities made one of their periodic crackdowns on opium smoking in Shanghai, Tu responded by mass-marketing “anti-opium pills,” red tablets laced with heroin. When the government took action to restrict the import of heroin, Tu seized the opportunity to build his own heroin factories. By 1934, heroin use in Shanghai had outpaced opium smoking as the most popular form of narcotics use. Tu’s labs were so efficient and so productive that he began exporting his Green Circles Gang heroin to Chinese users in San Francisco and Seattle. Tu’s climb to the top of the Chinese underworld was closely linked to the rise to political power of the Chinese nationalist warlord General Chiang Kai-shek. Indeed, both men were initiates into the so-called “21st Generation” of the Green Circles Gang. These ties proved useful in 1926, when Chiang’s northern expeditionary forces were attempting to sweep across central and northern China. As Chiang’s troops approached Shanghai, the city’s labor unions and Communist organizers rose up in a series of strikes and demonstrations designed to make it easier for Chiang to take control of the city. But Chiang stopped his march outside Shanghai, where he conferred with envoys from the city’s business leaders and from Tu’s gang. This coalition asked the Generalissimo to keep his forces stationed outside Shanghai until the city’s criminal gangs, acting in concert with the police force maintained by foreign businesses, could crush the left. When Chiang finally entered Shanghai, he stepped over the bodies of Communist workers. He soon solemnized his alliance with Tu by making him a general in the KMT. As the Chinese historian Y. C. Wang concludes, Tu’s promotion to general was testimony to the gangsterism endemic to Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT: “Perhaps for the first time in Chinese history, the underworld gained formal recognition in national politics.” The Green Circles Gang became the KMT’s internal security force, known officially as the Statistical and Investigation Office. This unit was headed by one of Tu’s sidekicks, Tai Li. Under the guidance of Tu and Tai Li, opium sales soon became a major source of revenue for the KMT. In that same year of 1926 Chiang Kai-shek legalized the opium trade for a period of twelve months; taxes on the trade netted the KMT enormous sums of money. After the year was over Chiang pretended to acknowledge the protests against legalization and set up the Opium Suppression Bureau, which duly went about the business of shutting down all competitors to the KMT in the drug trade. In 1933 the Japanese invaded China’s northern provinces and soon forged an accord with the KMT, buying large amounts of opium from Generals Tu and Tai Li, refining it into heroin and dispensing it to the Chinese through 2,000 pharmacies across northern China, exercising imperial supervision by the addiction of the Chinese population. General Tu’s opium partnership with the occupying Japanese enjoyed the official sanction of Chiang Kai-shek, according to a contemporary report by US Army Intelligence, which also noted that it had the backing of five major Chinese banks “to the tune of $150 million Chinese dollars.” The leadership of the KMT justified this relationship as an excellent opportunity for espionage, since Tu’s men were able to move freely through the northern provinces on their opium runs. In 1937 the Generalissimo’s wife, Madam Chiang, went to Washington, where she recruited a US Army Air Corps general named Claire Chennault to assume control of the KMT’s makeshift air force, then overseen by a group of Italian pilots on loan from Mussolini. Chennault was a Louisiana Cajun with unconventional ideas about air combat that had been soundly rejected by the top army brass, but his fanatic anti-Communism had won him friends among the far right in Congress and in US intelligence circles. (....) article continues More articles by:JEFFREY ST. CLAIR - ALEXANDER COCKBURN Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch For more info: China lost Hong kong and 5 other cities for 150 years, until 1997 because of the Opium wars. The forced importation into china of tens of millions of pounds of opium a month: This created tens of millions of addicts and caused the partial collapse of the government. It went on for hundreds of years. The chinese emperor wanted to know why they were selling opium in China, but not in England where it was illegal! OPIUM WARS - The Original NARCO-COLONIALISM - The Original State Sponsored Drug Traffic…Starting in in the mid-1700s, the British began trading opium grown in India in exchange for silver from Chinese merchants. Opium — an addictive drug that today is refined into heroin — was illegal in England, but was used in Chinese traditional medicine. 1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Opium_War https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Opium_War 2 This war with China . . . really seems to me so wicked as to be a national sin of the greatest possible magnitude, and it distresses me very deeply. Cannot any thing be done by petition or otherwise to awaken men's minds to the dreadful guilt we are incurring? I really do not remember, in any history, of a war undertaken with such combined injustice and baseness. Ordinary wars of conquest are to me far less wicked, than to go to war in order to maintain smuggling, and that smuggling consisting in the introduction of a demoralizing drug, which the government of China wishes to keep out, and which we, for the lucre of gain, want to introduce by force; and in this quarrel are going to burn and slay in the pride of our supposed superiority. — Thomas Arnold to W. W. Hull, March 18, 1840 http://www.victorianweb.org/history/empire/opiumwars/opiumwars1.html 3 https://web.archive.org/web/20180311121505/https://sacu.org/opium2.html See also Opium in China In 1997 the colony of Hong Kong was returned to China. Hong Kong Island became a British possession as a direct result of the Opium War, the opening shots of which were fired 150 years ago. All Chinese, regardless of political ideology, have condemned this armed confrontation as an unjust and immoral contest. As far as they are concerned, Britian's waging a war for the sake of selling a poisonous drug constitutes the most shameful leaf of human history. In the hindsight provided by subsequent events in China, it is, perhaps, easy to condemn this act of British aggression, but it is less certain that the event was seen in the same condemnatory light by Chinese and foreign observers a century and a half ago. 4 Article on opium trade in 1920s Shanghai http://streetsofshanghai.pbworks.com/w/page/18638691/Opium Opium (yapian 鸦片) Shanghai was built on the opium trade. Before the 1850s, Shanghai was the terminal port for coastal opium traffic. Shanghai was opened to foreign trade on November 11th 1843 and very soon afterwards, Jardine’s (the biggest British company in China at the time) set up a branch there and hired Chinese compradors, one of whom was solely concerned with the supervision of opium. By 1845, the opium moving through Shanghai constituted almost half of all the opium imported into China. In 1880, nearly 13,000,000 pounds of opium came into China, mainly from India. By 1900, imports declined, because China was now producing an average of 45,000,000 pounds of opium per annum itself. There were at least 15,000,000 Chinese opium addicts – in Chengdu, there was one opium den for every 67 inhabitants of the city. In Shanghai, some foreign missionaries began to complain that their homes were almost entirely surrounded by opium dens behind bamboo fences. The city had more than eighty shops where the drug was sold openly in its crude form, and there were over 1,500 opium houses.The owners of these establishments bought their supplies from three major opium firms in the International Settlement – the Zhengxia, Guoyu and Liwei. All three were owned by Swatow (Chaozhou) merchants who formed a consortium. This consortium obtained its opium from four foreign merchant houses: David Sassoon & Co., E.D. Sassoon, S.J. David, and Edward Ezra. 5' Opium financed British rule in India' http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7460682.stm What did you discover in the course of your research? How big was the trade? Opium steadily accounted for about 17-20% of Indian revenues. If you think in those terms, [the fact that] one single commodity accounted for such an enormous part of your economy is unbelievable, extraordinary. How and when did opium exports out of India to China begin? The idea of exporting opium to China started with Warren Hastings (the first governor general of British India) in 1780. The situation was eerily similar to [what is happening] today. There was a huge balance of payments problem in relation to China. China was exporting enormous amounts, but wasn't interested in importing any European goods. That was when Hastings came up with idea that the only way of balancing trade was to export opium to China.
Good morning from the UK. It’s Wednesday 15th April. The fire that severely damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire 1 year ago today on April 15 2019, Holy Monday and by the time it was finally put out it had destroyed the building’s spire and most of the roof. The stone vaults survived mostly intact, as did most of the cathedral’s artwork and relics. Covid-19 has delayed reconstruction efforts at Notre-Dame de Paris because removal of the melted scaffolding on the cathedral’s roof (scheduled to begin March 23) cannot take place whilst the country remains under coronavirus measures. On Good Friday Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris venerated Notre Dame Cathedral’s relic of Christ’s crown of thorns from inside the badly damaged cathedral. The archbishop prayed: “Lord Jesus, a year ago, this cathedral in which we are, was burning, causing astonishment and a worldwide impetus for it to be rebuilt, restored. Today we are in this half-collapsed cathedral to say that life is still there. The whole world is struck down by a pandemic that spreads death and paralyzes us. This crown of thorns was saved on the evening of the fire by the firefighters. It is the sign of what you suffered from the derision of men. But it is also the magnificent sign that tells us that you are joining us at the height of our suffering, that we are not alone and that you are with us always,” Aupetit said. Tonight though the Cathedral’s 339 year old 13 tonne bourdon bell (which is called Emmanuel and tuned to F#) will ring out to applaud the hard work of France’s medical workers engaged in the fight against Covid-19 (Source Liberation, in French and the Catholic News Agency). How much our lives can change in just one year.
Virus news in depth
Trump suspends funding of the world health organisation - the biggest Covid-19 story this morning is the decision by US President Donald Trump to suspend funding of the World Health Organisation pending a review. "Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump said. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the WHO "declined to call this a pandemic for an awfully long time because frankly the Chinese Communist Party didn't want that to happen." CNN reports that the US funds $400 million to $500 million to the WHO each year, Trump said, noting that China "contributes roughly $40 million." Another article from CNN points out that the UK announced an additional £65 million contribution to the WHO only a few days ago. Reaction to Trump's decision has been swift. Al Jazeera quotes Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing on the situation with the pandemic saying that the pandemic was at a critical stage and that the US' decision would affect all countries of the world. The news agency also quotes Dr Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, who called it "a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier". Bill Gates has tweeted “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs u/WHO now more than ever”. The Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney tweeted “This is indefensible decision, in midst of global pandemic. So many vulnerable populations rely on @WHO - deliberately undermining funding & trust now is shocking. Now is a time for global leadership & unity to save lives, not division and blame!” whilst Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the influential Lancet medical journal, wrote that Trump’s decision was “a crime against humanity … Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity”. Chile counts those who died of coronavirus as recovered because they're 'no longer contagious,' health minister says - News Week reports that cases of the novel coronavirus in Chile have climbed past 7,500, including 82 deaths, while over 2,300 have recovered from infection as of Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University but coronavirus patients in Chile who have died are being counted among the country's recovered population because they are "no longer contagious," Chile's Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said this week. "We have 898 patients who are no longer contagious, who are not a source of contagion for others and we include them as recovered. These are the people who have completed 14 days of diagnosis or who unfortunately have passed away," Mañalich announced at a press conference. It is unknown when Chile began including the dead among the number of people who have recovered. But the calculation has reportedly been adopted following validation by international health experts, the government claims. (Personal note: I just checked, as of 9am UK time Johns Hopkins has Chile down as 7912 cases with 92 deaths. Hat tip tochomponthebitfor this rather odd story).
Australia has jailed its first person for breaching isolation laws. The 35-year-old man will spend one month in jail after he repeatedly snuck out of a quarantine hotel to visit his girlfriend.
Japan also has PPE shortage problems; the Japanese city of Osaka has issued an urgent plea for citizens to donate plastic raincoats to hospitals running short of protective gear for staff treating coronavirus patients, with some doctors already having to resort to wearing garbage bags. Japanese medical workers have been warning for weeks that the medical system could soon be pushed to the brink, with nurses telling Reuters they were unsure whether their hospitals had enough advanced PPE such as N95 masks and plastic gowns. Some in Tokyo said they had been told to reuse masks.
Kandahar province has gone into full lockdown on Wednesday morning as Afghanistan reported its second biggest daily rise of new coronavirus cases in a week, triggered by a surge of infections in Kabul. The total number of identified infections is nearing 800.
India will allow industries located in the countryside to reopen next week, as well as resuming farm activities, to reduce the pain for millions of people hit by a lengthy shutdown in its coronavirus battle, the government said on Wednesday. Millions of people have been thrown out of work across south Asia since the lockdowns began last month, and growing anger in some areas was reflected in the commercial capital of Mumbai on Tuesday, when hundreds mobbed a train station demanding transport home.
Crowds and long lines have formed in the Moscow metro today as the city’s new electronic permission system may have backfired by trapping thousands of people at bottlenecks on public transport. Here’s a picture of the situation this morning.
In a first step towards easing coronavirus-related restrictions, Finland will lift roadblocks in the region around Helsinki on Wednesday, the prime minister, Sanna Marin, said. Travel restrictions to and from Uusimaa, the capital region, to the rest of the country began on 28 March, to prevent people from spreading the virus to other parts of the country. Marin said the government no longer had legal grounds to continue the lockdown, considering it an extreme measure to restrict people’s freedom of movement so strictly.
Germany’s government will extend restrictions on movement introduced last month to slow the spread of the coronavirus until at least 3 May, Handelsblatt business daily reported on Wednesday, citing the dpa news agency.
A German zoo has said it may have to feed some of its animals to others as it runs low on funds amid the coronavirus lockdown. Neumünster Zoo’s Verena Kaspari told Die Welt: If it comes to it, I’ll have to euthanise animals, rather than let them starve. At the worst, we would have to feed some of the animals to others. Kaspari said it would be an “unpleasant” last resort, but the zoo is not covered by the state emergency fund for small businesses and the zoo’s loss of income this spring is estimated at about €175,000 (£152,400).
Police in Berlin broke up a large birthday gathering in the early hours of Monday that violated Germany's social distancing restrictions. A 16-year-old girl was celebrating with 31 other people at an apartment in the German capital's central Mitte neighborhood. The girl's mother had apparently rented the property especially for the occasion. (Deutsche World link)
Denmark began reopening schools on Wednesday after a month-long closure over the coronavirus, becoming the first country in Europe to do so. Nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools are reopening in about half of the municipalities and about 35% of Copenhagen’s schools. Some parents have opposed the reopening of schools, citing health concerns. A petition titled “My child is not a guinea pig” has garnered some 18,000 signatures.
The world will need more than one Covid-19 vaccine so drug companies must partner in the race to develop the weapons to fight the coronavirus, the GlaxoSmithKline chief executive officer, Emma Walmsley, said on Wednesday. GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Sanofi SA said on Tuesday they would develop a vaccine to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus. The drugmakers said they expect to start clinical trials for the vaccine in the second half of this year. If successful, the vaccine would be available in the second half of 2021.
Supply chain news in depth
Heathrow cargo flights rise 500% as airport restyles itself as ‘vital airbridge’ - The Guardian says that the number of cargo-only flights at Heathrow has surged to five times normal levels, with the airport now saying it is prioritising medical supplies as passenger travel grinds to a halt. Britain’s biggest airport expects passenger traffic expected to plunge by 90% in April, with remaining flights mainly limited to repatriating citizens stranded abroad during the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, the hub airport is restyling itself as a “vital airbridge” for supplies and medical essentials during the coronavirus crisis. The number of cargo-only flights has jumped significantly; Heathrow’s busiest day for cargo so far was on 31 March, when it handled 38 cargo flights in only one day (the airport usually deals with 47 cargo flights per week). In a related article, the Independent reports that whilst the UK’s East Midlands airport has experienced “only” a 54% drop in total air movements, it’s nevertheless experienced a 7.4% rise in cargo flights with the result that it’s now the tenth busiest airport in Europe putting it ahead of major hubs such as Rome, Munich and Madrid. (Personal note: I live close to East Midlands airport and have definitely noticed there’s still a fair bit of traffic coming and going; it helps that DHL Express have a decent presence there too). Global Airline Traffic Will Nearly Halve in 2020 - The Wall Street Journal reports that global airline traffic is expected to almost halve this year because of travel restrictions, with no recovery expected until the third quarter, according to an industry trade group. The International Air Transport Association forecast airlines would lose $314 billion in revenue this year, 25% more than its previous estimate as it incorporated more pessimistic assumptions about the hit to the global economy and the relaxation of travel restrictions. (Personal note: for contrast the drop in revenue for the global aviation industry after the 9/11 attacks was about $23bn according to anarticlein the Guardian; disruption in the industry from that event caused the bankruptcy of Swissair, Belgium's Sabena and Australia's Ansett whilst he American airlines United, US Airways, Northwest and Delta all filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors). Amazon faces having its operations reduced to a bare minimum in France - a court has ruled the e-commerce giant can deliver only essential goods while the company evaluates its workers’ risk of coronavirus exposure says today’s Guardian live blog (link above). The court in Nanterre, outside Paris, said Amazon France had “failed to recognise its obligations regarding the security and health of its workers,” according to a ruling seen by AFP. While carrying out the health evaluation, Amazon can prepare and deliver only “food, hygiene and medical products,” the court said. The injunction must be carried out within 24 hours, or Amazon France could face fines of €1m (£873,500) per day. Amazon has one month to carry out the evaluation. Concern has grown over the safety precautions taken by the company; dozens of workers protested in the United States last month. Pandemic breaks Vietnam supply chains; loss of exports may be permanent - The Loadstar reports that Freight forwarders in Vietnam have seen cargo volumes down by up to 70% on pre-coronavirus levels, as their key markets remain under lockdown. According to Ho Chi Minh City-based supply chain consultant CEL, the world has entered a consumer demand crisis which could permanently alter its supply chains. “As we speak, the American consumer is currently already reducing expenditure on shoes, phones, appliances, clothes, cars and tools, for example,” said CEL managing partner Julien Brun. “Most of which are made in Asia, and a large portion in Vietnam.” When the coronavirus pandemic started in Wuhan in January, the crisis was seen as a China-specific problem from a supply chain perspective, and prompted a frantic search for alternative production and transport capacity in Vietnam, Mr Brun explained. Vietnam’s own reliance on China for raw materials and components quickly materialised, however, resulting in the start of delays and production challenges. “In a survey conducted by CEL at the end of March, 83% of companies in the physical value chain in Vietnam, including retailers, transporters, traders and manufacturers, had suffered supply issues over the past two months,” he said. “And 47% of them had issues specifically with Chinese suppliers, a large majority of which was over missing raw materials.” Mr Brun said manufacturers and retailers’ current sales volumes were too low to absorb fixed costs, leaving thousands of businesses with negative margins and thinning cash reserves.
Supply chain news in brief
The US Treasury has ordered Donald Trump’s name be printed on cheques to be sent to tens of millions of Americans affected by the coronavirus outbreak, a decision that will slow their delivery by several days, according to the Washington Post (link, not behind a paywall). Citing unnamed senior officials at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Post reported the $1,200 cheques – being sent by the as part of a $2.3tn package enacted last month to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic – will “bear Trump’s name in the memo line, below a line that reads, ‘Economic Impact Payment’.” The Post said the “unprecedented decision” to include Trump’s name was announced to the IRS information technology team on Tuesday.
Share trading of Virgin Australia has been suspended at the airline’s request whilst it reviews financial restructuring options in a bid to avoid collapse. The halt comes after a previous halt last week where the airline announced it had requested a $1.4 billion loan from the Australian government. The airline also announced it was cutting all flights except for a single SYD-MEL (Sydney to Melbourne) return flight 6 days a week. Options that may be considered include existing creditors swapping debt for equity (i.e. creditors write off debt and are given shares instead), priority debt to new creditors (to encourage badly needed additional funds to come in from investors), restructuring or entering voluntary administration. (Source: Airlive.net)
Air Cargo News reports that Spice Jet (my favourite airline name of them all) is ramping up its cargo operation following the virus outbreak. On April 7, India-based SpiceJet operated the country’s first cargo-only passenger aircraft flight carrying vital medical supplies in the cabin. Since then, the airline has regularly used its Boeing 737 aircraft for cargo-only flights. SpiceJet has also recently operated special cargo flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and other countries, to export local fresh fruits and vegetables and maintain supply chains. On April 9, SpiceXpress — SpiceJet’s dedicated cargo arm — operated a freighter flight on the Chennai-Singapore-Chennai route carrying critical medical equipment and other Covid-19 related medical supplies.
The LoadStar has reported that Air Canada has removed the seats on 3 of its 777’s to make more room for cargo. The aircraft are being converted by aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist Avianor, which will remove 422 passenger seats and designate cargo loading zones for lightweight boxes containing medical equipment, restrained with cargo nets.
U.S. carriers are asking the FAA to allow shipments in passenger cabins says Freightwaves. With a global shortage of air cargo space and extraordinary demand to move emergency medical supplies, some overseas passenger airlines are taking out the seats on aircraft to make more room for freight and U.S. airlines are asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to fly cargo in the main deck where passengers normally sit, including the option of removing seats, an industry source familiar with the regulatory situation said. A decision on basic main-deck loading is expected very soon. FAA sign-off for more complex modifications could take a couple weeks longer, the person said, adding “the exact framework for seat loading under U.S. regulations is not yet fully elaborated.” Almost every domestic airline is interested in using the cabin for cargo in some form, according to the source.
Prologis Inc (which is one of the world’s largest logistics real estate investment trusts and has a lot of warehouses) has said 24% of its customers have inquired about rent releases and deferring payments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has stunted demand for goods in many industries. On a business update call with analysts and investors earlier this week, the company said the release requests total 69 days of rent relief on 16.6% of the company’s portfolio. Prologis expects to grant deferrals in the form of a repayable loan to roughly one quarter of those that have sought relief. Management estimates the deferral loan amounts will equal 1% of the company’s gross annual rent. Of note, management said some of the inquiries have come from large, “financially sound” clients that are looking to take advantage of the current market in which some landlords are offering accommodative rent payment solutions. Freightwaves has more.
Amazon is going to start accepting all non-essential products to its warehouses again this week, a month after pausing those shipments says Business Insider. Amazon's spokesperson confirmed in an email to Business Insider that third-party sellers who use Amazon's warehouses to store their products will be able to resume sending in all non-essential items later this week. There will be limits to how many products per item the sellers can ship in, but the idea is to lift the restrictions imposed last month, the spokesperson said. "Later this week, we will allow more products into our fulfillment centers," Amazon's spokesperson said. "Products will be limited by quantity to enable us to continue prioritizing products and protecting employees, while also ensuring most selling partners can ship goods into our facilities." The change signals easing pressure on Amazon's supply chain that were caused by surging demand for essential products, like face masks and toilet paper, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Good news section
99 year old world war 2 veteran Capt. Tom Moore has so far managed to raise £5m ($6.25m USD, €5.72m EUR) in donations to the NHS - the BBC says that Capt. Tom Moore is currently in the middle of completing 100 laps of his garden (25 metres in length) before his 100th birthday at the end of April. Mr Moore was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire and trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the army for World War Two, rising to captain and serving in India and Burma. NHS Charities Together, which will benefit from the funds, said it was "truly inspired and humbled". Nearly 170,000 people from around the world have donated money to his fundraising page since it was set up last week. Mr Moore began raising funds to thank the "magnificent" NHS staff who helped him with treatment for cancer and a broken hip. If you’re interested in supporting him his fundraising page is here.
What you can do this summer (and how covid might impact admissions) - a guide by Novembrr, former Berkeley & UChicago reader
Note: I began writing this guide before George Floyd’s murder. I vacillated for a long time regarding posting this guide, as it feels privileged to worry about gaining acceptance to elite universities when there are disenfranchised groups of people who don’t have the ability to study, work, and live freely. But I ultimately decided to share this with you guys in the hopes that some would find it helpful. Covid has completely derailed many of your plans; from summer programs being cancelled to research labs closing to internships being nixed, many of you are looking at a long summer with nothing to do. And that’s okay. Just as universities are trying to give students grace in what they’re able/unable to achieve in a covid-19 world, extend that grace to yourself. People are dying and, tragically, death might hit close to home for some of you. People are losing their jobs and, again, your family might be impacted. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 children are going hungry during this time; you might be more worried about putting food on your table than improving your resume. You might be trapped in an unsafe, unhealthy environment without the support systems you once had. Social distancing and sheltering in place are impacting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of people worldwide. Focus first on what really matters: the mental, emotional, physical, and financial health of you and your loved ones. But many of you are wondering how covid-19 might impact your college admissions process, and I am, too. Truthfully, no one knows; college administrators are scrambling to make decisions regarding online vs in-person classes this fall, and admissions officers are trying to determine how to make the admissions process simultaneously equitable/accessible and on-par with the academic caliber of previous classes. Lee Coffin, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth College, said in a recent Harvard Graduate School of Education webinar: “Students are coming into next year’s application process with less information than they might have had, [and] different kinds of data points that frame their academic record. We don’t have all the answers today as to what [the college admissions process this fall] might look like.” He went on to add: “As I try to anticipate the [class of] 2025 reading cycle... how do we start to think and reimagine a college assessment if the high schools are largely giving pass/fail grades right now? If that happens to continue into the fall, a transcript as we know it will look really differently... If you combine that with a lack of testing, we’ve removed a lot of data from what would have typically been our assessment.” Pass/fail vs letter grades I want to interrupt my train of thought to address whether you should take letter grades or choose pass/fail, if given the option. Multiple students have told me that their GPA and/or class rank hinges on them choosing pass/fail, even though they’ve earned all As this semester. I would not choose pass/fail to game the system; choose pass/fail (if given the option) if your grades were impacted during this turbulent time. If your grades were on par with your past performance, I’d stick to letter grades. Alongside letters of recommendation, counselors are asked to evaluate students on a few criteria, one of which is character. I worry that students’ characters will be called into question, or that a counselor might call you a “grade grubber” in their letter of recommendation. In contrast, they can talk about your ethical decision to take letter grades, and how you seem to truly love learning solely for the sake of learning (not for a grade or an accolade)—a quality, in my experience, that universities love. Alternatively, if your school is mandating that everyone go pass/fail, and you would have earned stellar grades, ask your counselor to address that fact in your letter of rec. Ok, back to regular programming. How might colleges evaluate your achievements? The question on everyone’s mind lately: How will universities evaluate applicants without test scores and with pass/fail grades? Standardized tests were already flawed—they disadvantaged students from marginalized backgrounds, for instance—but universities clung to them as a way to, in their minds, even the playing field. It’s hard to compare students from, say, an under-resourced rural public school in Iowa to an abundantly-resourced private school in Massachusetts, and so universities try to avoid doing so by evaluating students within “context”: the opportunities of their family, school, and community (i.e., if your high school doesn’t offer AP Calculus BC, you won’t be compared to peers in the high school two towns over who all take BC as freshmen; if your family lives in poverty, your achievements might look different than those of a student from an uber-wealthy community; and so on). I believe that grace has to be extended to individuals impacted by covid-19, as well; if circumstances of covid-19 (your illness, a family member’s illness, a parent’s undeunemployment, lack of access to standardized testing, online courses, etc.) impact your achievements, I cannot imagine an admissions office would not extend leniency. But at the nation’s most selective universities, everyone cannot be given a pass on everything. So I believe now, more than ever, qualitative components of an application may be heavily weighted in the admissions processes of the nation’s most selective universities. The webinar’s host, Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard senior lecturer and leader of the Turning the Tide national effort to rethink college admissions, added his opinion: “It seems to me that if you are putting less weight on the SAT, then this is a time where you really can pay attention to the social and emotional strengths—like self awareness, social awareness, self regulation, curiosity, empathy—that we know are so strongly predictive of doing well and doing good in college and beyond.” So where do you show these qualities? In your letters of recommendation, essays, and extracurriculars. Getting stellar letters of recommendation I recommend you seek out recommenders ASAP, as they might need even more time than usual to write your recommendations. Dartmouth’s Dean Coffin, in a 2017 alumni magazine article, said: “In combination with the qualitative data, the teacher recommendations that talk about grit and focus, determination and optimism, as well as the student’s own work and the essays—that’s where it all knits together and you say, ‘This is someone who’s primed for success.’” Don’t just have your teachers rehash your resume; what anecdotes can they provide that will offer detailed insight into your best qualities? Alongside your teacher letter of recommendations in the Common App, teachers are asked to evaluate your:
Quality of writing
Creative, original thought
Productive class discussion
Respect accorded by faculty
Disciplined work habits
Reaction to setbacks
Concern for others
And overall characteristics
Consider subtly addressing some of these qualities in a letter to your recommender. I recommend reading this Reddit post by u/LRFE. One point where we disagree: I don’t recommend you send your resume to your teachers, unless they ask for it; in my experience, resumes are helpful for counselors so they can put all your achievements into context. However, some teachers erroneously spend more time talking about your extracurricular achievements than your personal qualities and performance in class; your resume will be detailed in your activities list and, most likely, your essays. Your objective personal qualities won’t be detailed anywhere, unless your recommenders provide that insight. Instead of saying: “Marissa is a talented young lady! Not only does she frequently solo on the saxophone in jazz band, but she earned first place at the DECA regionals competition, is captain of the varsity tennis team, volunteers for National Honors Society, and earned silver in the United States of America Computing Olympiad. Quite the busy bee!” Your teacher could say: “Marissa is an incredibly introspective and thought-provoking young person. In a class discussion about The Great Gatsby, she challenged her classmates to reflect on their own privilege. She made reference to current events and incorporated books she read in AP US History (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Second Sex). What’s more, she artfully mediated what could have been a contentious discussion between her politically-divided classmates.” Do you see how the latter example would better say to universities “this student is primed for success”? And, remember, you don’t have to hope that your teacher will write with such detail—you can write them a letter and include anecdotes to remind them of your best moments in class. Doing something impactful this summer And as for extracurriculars, it would be great to do something this summer. But what? That’s the million dollar question, but you don’t need a million dollars to do something this summer that will be emotionally or intellectually rewarding and beneficial for your college applications (+ success in college).
Build a computer
Tinker (take apart and rebuild electronics, “hack” electronics to improve them, rig up devices that solve everyday problems, etc.)
Lead a social justice initiative (rally teens to protest; provide masks, snacks and water to protesters; create a “voices of our community” newsletter to highlight marginalized perspectives; and so much more)
Create birdhouses and offer to install them in neighbors’ yards
Conduct science experiments (and/or create science kits, record instructions, and share them with kids in your neighborhood)
Offer virtual babysitting, tutoring, language teaching, or music lessons
Grocery shop/run errands for at-risk members of your community
Build an app that solves a need in your community, like alerting SNAP recipients when SNAP-eligible food is in stock at their local grocery store
Start a lawn mowing business
Run the social media for a small business floundering in this economic environment
Create the website or build an online store for a small business that used to sell only in person
Translate important public health information, create a database of healthcare/public resources, or offer to virtually translate conversations with doctors for non-native-speaking members of your community
Offer your help negotiating smaller fees for services (like internet/tv) for low-income families
Fundraise to buy internet/hotspots/computers for low-income students who are otherwise unable to learn online
Create fun learning packets for students and drop them off in “subscribers” mailboxes
Do a data visualization project on covid-19 for your community
Take online courses via Coursera, EdX, MIT OpenCourseWare, Udemy, Udacity, Lynda.com, Khan Academy, etc.
Listen to podcasts associated with your intended major, like this one from MIT
Foster or transport shelter animals
Foster the pets of those who have been hospitalized
Walk the pets of those who are at-risk and cannot be out and about in the community
Drive people to routine hospital appointments/work/necessary errands who otherwise would be forced to take public transit
Create virtual mental health office hours, where classmates can call in or submit anonymous questions, and where you can host weekly guest professionals to answer those questions
Start a themed book club with friends (perhaps related to your major)
Fundraise to purchase video cameras for NICUs, labor & delivery, and covid-19 wards where loved ones cannot be present in the hospital
Ask to help design the online curriculum for a favorite teacher (even better if related to your intended major)
Edit the resumes of recently-unemployed community members
Write stories, poetry, a news/politics blog
Sew masks and distribute to those in need
Propose an independent research project and ask a professor to be your mentor
And tons of ideas that I haven’t discovered (you guys constantly amaze me with your ingenuity)
So you want to do research… It was always difficult for high schoolers to earn coveted spots in research labs, and covid-19 offers even more challenges, with the suspension of many labs. Says Polly Fordyce, an assistant professor of bioengineering and genetics at Stanford, covid-19 is “really destructive. Some people were about to do the last experiment they needed for a paper, or an experiment that would have given them months of data to analyze. And now they’re stalled.” Instead, her colleagues are “thinking creatively about existing data sets we can analyze, reading more papers… doing a paper on data that they weren’t going to write up.” I want you to think just as creatively. Where, in the past, I have helped many of my students gain research internships at highly-selective universities, don’t count on doing so this summer. Instead, consider devising your own research project—like Fordyce said, using existing data sets and papers—and ask a professor, PhD student, or professional to mentor you. I’m going to give you some ideas on topics you could analyze. I urge you not to run with one of these projects, because who knows how many other kids read this post and likewise pick the same project. Harvard will likely catch on if 500 kids all have the same research project… Instead, find the subject most closely linked to your interest for some inspiration, reflect on your unique interests, and spend a few days harvesting the internet for some ideas. If you’re truly stuck and need some help, reach out for more information regarding how I work 1-on-1 with students. So without further ado… Biology/Public Health
Cancer (under)diagnosis in queeobese/minority populations (and the healthcare biases that lead to this issue)
How cancer diagnoses are impacted by covid-19 (like this, for instance)
The cultural norms that support and the efforts to end genital mutilation worldwide
The inhalation of Lysol and the spread of misinformation in public health crises (covid-19, AIDS)
The effect of Yelp reviews on prospective patients’ selection of healthcare providers
Best approaches to treating individuals with memory loss/eating disorders/etc.
Pharmaceuticals’ roles in the opioid epidemic
The rise of the female workforce during WWII, and how covid-19 is impacting female workers
How businesses’ responses to covid-19 and the Black Lives Matters movement impact their (inter)national reputations
The challenges of being male, female, trans, or nonbinary in workplaces dominated by individuals with different gender identities
A history of black entrepreneurship
Predicted cost impacts of a year without college football for U.S. universities
NOTE: Instead of conducting research, consider pursuing a hands-on project, such as assisting a small business in their social media strategy; starting your own small business or product; or designing a mock product, website, and advertising campaign. Classics
Gender and sexuality in Ancient Rome
The use of a particular literary device across an author’s body of work
History of disease in Roman antiquity
How Bay Area tech giants succeed/fail in hiring and supporting minority engineers
The effects of avatars’ identities in video games on players’ personal identities in real life
Various approaches to introducing children to computer science
NOTE: You can also use computer science tools to analyze a topic in another field—such as using AI to predict a disease. Cultural Studies/Ethnic Studies
Why Black Americans are dying from covid-19 at greater rates
Racial disparity in the rate of police killings
The societal stereotyping of ethnic first names
The challenges refugees face before, during, and after immigration
A specific culture’s identity and representation in film
Data Science There are tons of opportunities here; pick a project that interests you and analyze the data associated with it. Don’t have any data? Check out these sites or reach out to your local librarian for help. Really dig into the data to pose questions, draw conclusions, and pursue a data visualization project. Design
The challenges of living in high-density housing during social distancing
How highways bifurcated white and black America
Minorities’ pursuit of STEM majors in predominantly white vs historically black colleges and universities
The school-to-prison pipeline
Menstruation as a barrier to education in India
Sex education’s impact on underage pregnancies
Engineering NOTE: Consider doing something hands on, like building a drone, robot, or computer; designing a bridge; or building an app or device. Here are some additional ideas from Southern Methodist University and ElProCus. Stanford Alumni Magazine just featured a “multitalented tinkerer”, and you can see some of his projects on [YouTube](alu.ms/akshay). English Literature
Analysis of an author’s use of a literary device across their body of work
How spouse/sibling authors draw upon different/similar inspirations (The Brontë Sisters, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, etc.)
Analysis of a particular style of writing within books of a certain genre
How a book reflects society and beliefs of that time (how slavery is depicted, mental health stigma, etc.)
How a book/body of work represents an author’s beliefs (John Milton, John Updike, any other notably-religious Johns?)
The representation of a minority group in a genre (i.e., LGBTQ+ within graphic novels)
How murder hornets and other invasive species have impacted indigenous species
Differences in the perception of global warming across various societies
Modern day impacts of Chernobyl, Fukushima, or other environmental disasters
Analysis of climate change policies in the Democratic debates
How a Supreme Court decision regarding a natural gas pipeline could impact the Appalachian Trail
Violence against indigenous women and the inadequate response by communities/law enforcement
History of achievements of America’s first ladies
Gender inequality during stay-at-home orders
Overcoming the gender gap in STEM
The response to the 1918 Spanish Flu and similarities/differences between today’s response to covid-19
A history of un- and under-employment in America
How businesses pivot during times of crisis (WWII, covid-19, etc.)
NOTE: There are so many cool topics in history! Here’s a good place to start (though this list is U.S.-centric) Journalism/Media Studies
Partisanship in American media organizations
Freedom of the press in [insert country of choice here]
The rise and fall of the American newspaper
Jazz’s influence on community in Harlem
Your favorite musical artist’s influence on a genre
What various cultures’ earliest musical artifacts showcase about those societies
The impacts of gerrymandering on marginalized communities
The impacts of social media on voter turnout and behaviors
The corrupt misuse of NGO funds in Third World Countries
A compare and contrast between two leaders’ approaches to international trade
Legal precedence foagainst stay-at-home orders, curfews on protestors, etc.
Freedom to/freedom from: the different approaches to personal liberties in various democratic societies
Unemployment’s impact on mental health crises during various economic downturns
Mental health risks of social isolation
Building empathy across political/racial divides
The impact of a belief in fixed vs malleable intelligence on children’s achievements
In order to get a research internship off the ground, you must be willing to put in the time and effort to devise a topic in the first place. This is not the sort of summer activity that is going to be handed to you, but it will be so rewarding to drive the project from start to finish (I promise). And if my promise doesn’t come true and you hit tons of speed bumps, well hey, at least you’ll have a great response to any prompts that ask you to address your greatest challenge. ;) How to approach mentors You can either organically devise a project you would love to pursue, or first poke around prospective departments at your dream university to see what they’re doing, before creating a spinoff project from one of their research labs. Either way, do some research into who else in the world is doing similar stuff. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a professor—it could be a principal investigator, PhD student, postdoc, or even someone at a company/non-profit). Find their email and reach out to them, outlining something such as the following:
What you love about their work/research (I like to start with sincere flattery)
How their work/research relates to your interests/experiences
Who you are and what research you are conducting this summer (be specific—not “I plan to conduct economics research this summer. Got any ideas?”)
Your first ask: Can they recommend books, data, journal articles, etc. to point you in the right direction? (Again, be specific—“know of any bio journals?” is not going to lead to mentors begging to mentor you)
Your second ask: Are they or anyone they know willing to mentor you in pursuing this project? You would love occasional guidance on your sources, data, conclusions, paper, etc.
A sincere thanks for their time
Keep it short but detailed! And add a catchy subject line to cut through their inbox. Remember: They don’t owe you. They might not respond. You shouldn’t pester. You shouldn’t spam (multiple people with the same generic email and especially not multiple people in the same department at the same university). Consider reaching out to one or two people at different universities/companies/non-profits simultaneously; if you don’t get any responses after a week or so, consider tweaking your email and reaching out to one or two more individuals. Shoot to have one to two mentors, focusing only on those who can help you maximize your learning experience and do good work. What other questions do you have for how covid-19 might impact admissions? What other ideas do you have for summer activities? Happy to weigh in! And, as a reminder, don’t stress about college if you have other stressors in your life that need your attention first. I personally realized last year, when facing a family emergency, that you shouldn’t fix your leaky faucet if your house is burning down. Put out the fire first, then turn your attention to college. I’m here for you if you need me!
The Next Pandemic: Confronting Emerging Disease and Antibiotic Resistance
Two problems not commonly discussed prior to the novel Coronavirus outbreak are the emergence of infectious disease and the related increasing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance. Here, I will explain the science behind these problems and some solutions that can be driven by legislation. My background is more squarely rooted in the science, so I apologize if I lean too heavily in this area as opposed to the economics and policy focus of this subreddit. I frequent this sub and enjoy the discourse here, and in my area this is one topic that overlaps with public health policy that I am passionate about. To understand emerging disease and antimicrobial resistance, it’s important to understand evolution The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, is an example of an emerging infectious disease. SARS-CoV2 is a disease that, prior to 2019, had not to the best of our knowledge infected a human being. The genetic makeup of the virus indicates that the virus is natural, originating likely as a bat or pangolin Coronavirus that acquired the ability to infect humans, and that it is not man-made (1). Why do new diseases come into existence? Why haven’t humans encountered all the diseases capable of infecting us? Furthermore, why do diseases that we had previously thought conquered have the newfound ability to harm us again, in spite of our advancements in antibiotic development? The answer to these questions is partially answered by evolution. Several novel viruses, like SARS-CoV1, MERS, and SARS-CoV2, began as zoonosis: infection by a pathogen with an animal source. Viruses, though generally considered non-living, contain nucleic acid genomes (either RNA or DNA) similar to every other organism in the tree of life. This genome is subject to selective pressures, just as with every other nucleic-acid containing being, and mutates non-specifically (that is, an organism develops a mutation, then selective pressures have a positive, negative, or neutral effect on retaining or discarding the mutation). An animal coronavirus that recognizes surface molecules on animal cells that have some similarity to human cell surface molecules may only be a few small genome changes away from being capable of infecting humans. It is likely that SARS-CoV2 emerged in one of two ways: as either an animal virus that mutated within an animal that gained the ability to infect humans, or as an animal virus that jumped to humans, and within the human host was selected for the ability to infect humans (1). The advent of novel viruses is also facilitated by the horizontal transfer of genetic material between distinct viral lineages. In Influenza viruses, this can take the form of segments of genome being transferred wholesale between viruses. Influenza viruses contain a genome composed entirely of RNA in multiple segments of sequence. Segments “re-assort” when flu viruses of distinct lineage infect the same cell, and viral genomes are mixed during the process of producing new viruses. Alternatively, as would be the case in coronaviruses, recombination occurs through a mechanism not fully understood, where whole portions of genome are exchanged between viruses (2). The problem of antimicrobial resistance is also best understood through evolution. To explain this phenomenon, I will describe mainly how resistance manifests in bacteria, but similar processes drive resistance to anti-virals, anti-fungals, and anti-parasitics. Antibiotics are largely derived from natural sources: as microbes compete for resources, there is a drive to reduce competitors numbers by killing them or inhibiting their growth. Antibiotics are typically small molecules that target essential processes for bacterial growth; commonly cell wall biosynthesis (preventing growth and division of the cell, an example being penicillin), protein synthesis (blocks the process of translation, an example being erythromycin), production of RNA (blocks the process of transcription, an example being rifampin) or production of DNA (blocks the process of replication, an example being fluoroquinolone). These antibiotics arose through selective pressures, and in response bacteria have developed systems to circumvent the deleterious effects of antibiotics. These include: rapidly excreting the antibiotic before it is capable of inhibiting growth (efflux pumps, a notable offender being Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common pathogen in patients with cystic fibrosis), degrading the antibiotic (beta-lactamases are a class of enzyme that degrade beta-lactam family antibiotics, such as penicillin), modifying the antibiotic (the most common mechanism for aminoglycoside resistance is to chemically modify the antibiotic so it doesn’t work), or simply modifying the target (Streptococcus pneumoniae is a microbe that causes multiple diseases that is naturally resistant to beta-lactams by modification of the drug target, the aptly-named Penicilin-binding protein) (3). As humans, it has been beneficial to identify these natural compounds and use them medically to treat infection. Bacteria have incredible genome plasticity, engaging in a process known as horizontal gene transfer (HGT; sometimes referred to as lateral gene transfer) that increases the prevalence of resistant microbes. Not all bacteria are capable of this set of processes, but importantly several medically important pathogens, such as E. coli, Salmonella, Yersinia pestis, Acinetobacter baumannii engage in processes that facilitate the transfer of genetic material between bacteria. There are several molecular mechanisms for HGT: bacteria-infecting viruses can transmit pieces of genetic material between similar bacteria (transduction), bacteria can form a bridge that transfers plasmids (conjugation; plasmids are typically circular pieces of DNA, and are typically maintained independently of the bacterial chromosome and commonly encode antibiotic resistance genes), or bacteria can simply pick up naked DNA in the environment and integrate that DNA into their chromosomes (natural transformation) (3). The effect of these processes is that, when a gene that imparts resistance to a particular antibiotic is introduced into a population, it may spread between members of the population, not just within the progeny of the cells that encode the resistance gene. This is especially true when a gene that imparts resistance is on a plasmid or is otherwise mobilizable (transposons, or jumping genes, are also common perpetrators of transmission in that they move somewhat readily and often encode drug resistance). The key point to understand here is that while genes are present in bacteria, either on a chromosome or on a mobilizable element, these genes are capable of moving to many other members of the same population. To understand this in more practical terms, many people have undergone a course of antibiotics and experienced gastrointestinal distress or stomach pains. This can be attributed to disturbing your normal intestinal microbiome, as you kill off non-resistant bacteria. Now assume you have an infection of some sort, it could be anywhere in your body accessible to an orally administered antibiotic, and your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic. It is possible, and possibly probable, that within your gut are bacteria that harbor resistance genes. In the absence of the antibiotic, these are likely to have a neutral or possibly deleterious effect; think of this like a welder that is unable to remove his welding mask: it certainly helps when he is welding, but is cumbersome at other times of the day. Taking the antibiotic results in high selection for resistant microbes to grow and prosper. This allows the resistant bugs to soon outnumber the non-resistant bugs. Ultimately, this increases the concentration of the resistance genes in the population of microbes in your gut. Subsequent to this, you may encounter an infection of a gastrointestinal pathogen that, in infecting your gut, acquires the resistance genes that you selected for. In disseminating this pathogen, you are also disseminating this resistance gene. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, in taking antibiotics you select for drug resistance in the opportunistic pathogens of your body, notably Clostridium dificile and Staphylococcus epidermidis. These microbes are capable of causing disease, but reside in you or on you and cause infection when conditions are optimal for their growth. The problem of antimicrobial resistance is convergent with emerging pathogens, as many pathogens “re-emerge” as they develop resistance to antimicrobials. While TB cannot be said to be an emerging pathogen as the world has been experiencing a TB pandemic since at least the early 1800’s, TB is re-emerging in the since that increased drug resistance has led to strains of TB that are not treatable via the traditional course of antibiotics (4). Similarly, common pathogens such as E. coli, Klebsiella, and Clostridium dificile are bugs that have become increasingly resistant to the antibitoics used to treat them (5). Acinetobacter baumanii, a soil microbe with resistance to a spectrum of antibiotics, became a common Gulf and Iraq War wound infection. Many of these pathogens find a home in hospitals, where the use of antibiotics is prevalent and potential hosts are abundant. Furthermore, the recently emerged pathogen HIV, the causal agent of AIDS, is intersectional with that of antibiotic resistance, as infection with HIV increases susceptibility to bacterial infections due to reduced immune cell numbers; increased infection rates of Both issues, antibiotic resistance and emerging pathogens, pose a threat to human health the world over, and I will attempt to address both of these issues in this post. The problem of emerging disease and antibiotic resistance is exacerbated by humans To what extent do emerging diseases and antibiotic resistance affect humans? SARS-CoV2 has had an extensive impact on human health and living, and the response to shut down to stop the spread of the virus has had a large economic impact. It is impossible to accurately predict the threat posed by non-discovered viruses, so the next threat could be relatively benign, or truly horrific. This is not to fearmonger, there is no reason to suspect that such a virus is bound to steamroll us soon, but to say that the next plague may be brewing inside a pig in a Chinese farm or outside our homes in the bodies of ticks, and we would not know it. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published two Antibiotic Resistance Threat reports on the subject, in 2013 and 2019. In the 2013 edition, it was reported that 2 million people in the United States will acquire an antibiotic resistant infection, and that 23,000 will die as a direct result of that infection (5). While by 2019 this was realized to be an underestimation of the drug-resistant cases, new approaches had determined that the true value had lowered from 2013 to 2019, with an updated estimate of 2.8 million cases and 35,000 fatalities in 2019 (6). An excellent illustration of the problem can be found on page 28 of the 2013 report, which reports the introduction date (left) and the date at which resistance was observed on the right for crucial antibiotic groups. Commonly, within a decade of the introduction of an antibiotic, resistance emerges. This problem cannot be expected to go away on its own, and more than likely pathogens commonly thought vanquished will re-emerge with drug-resistant characteristics. There are human processes that contribute to the emergence of disease and spread of antibiotic resistance. In China, Wet Markets bring together livestock from all over the country, creating an environment that is diverse in the microbial life that live commensally and parasitically in and on these animals. The proximity of these animals allows for the exchange of these microbes; these microbes are then capable of exchanging genetic material. As I described for Flu and Coronaviruses, viruses that come into contact within cells are capable of genetic recombination, a process that can result in viruses that are capable of infecting humans. This is not to say this is a common phenomenon, just that 1) the process is accelerated by live animal markets and 2) this practice and resulting genetic recombination of zoonotic viruses is thought to have contributed to both the original and novel SARS-CoV outbreaks. In the United States, a textbook example of an emerging disease is Lyme Disease (7). Named for the town of Lyme, Connecticut, Lyme Disease is caused by the peculiar bacterium known as Borellia burgdorferi. Borellia is a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that is interesting for its ability to grow without iron (a key component of the immune response is the sequestration of iron away from pathogens). Lyme Disease is spread through ticks, and the number of infectious cases is exacerbated by reforestation and settlement close to wooded areas in suburban environments. As building projects move closer to forested areas, exposure to arthropod-borne illnesses will be expected to rise. Beyond settlement and the wet market practice, the emergence of new infectious disease is complicated by global warming and healthcare practices. Global warming is hypothesized to drive heat resistance in fungi, potentially improving their capacity to grow within the human body (8). The pathogenic potential of fungi is hypothesized to be limited by the heat of the human body, and there is some speculation that global warming is a contributing factor to the emergence of the notorious fungal pathogen Candida auris (8). These claims should be taken with a grain of salt and evaluated critically, but it is possible that human-caused climate change will disturb the ecology of our planet with as of yet unforeseen consequences, among them the generation novel and resurgent diseases. In healthcare, over-prescription of and a lack of regulation on antibiotics has caused the problem to worsen (5,6). When a patient receives an antibiotic, the drug has an effect on all microbes where the drug is bioavailable. This includes the intestines, which contain a resident population of microbes, and the skin, which contains Staphylococci resident species that prevent colonization by pathogenic strains of similar bacteria. These residents are then selected for their ability to resist the drug, causing an increase in resistance among the healthy microbiota. These resistance genes, as I have described, can then move between dissimilar bacteria in the same environment. If a harmful strain of E. coli is introduced into such an environment, for example, it has a higher likelihood of encountering and assimilating the genetic potential to resist antibiotics than in an environment that is naïve to the antibiotic. Patients are commonly prescribed antibiotics for infections that are more likely to be caused by a virus, or in instances where an infection is likely to run course without medical intervention. The increased exposure to antibiotics causes the microbiota to increase the concentration of resistance genes. Additionally, in places like India, the regulations on antibiotics are much more laxed than even the United States, where one is able to purchase over-the-counter antibiotics. This allows anyone to give themselves an incomplete course of antibiotics for any condition, even if the symptoms are not caused by an infection of any kind. Additionally, prescription antibiotics that have deteriorated with time, or are manufactured with subpar quality control resulting in lower concentrations, that remain in circulation exacerbate the problem by establishing sub-inhibitory concentrations of the antibiotic in the body and resulting in selection for resistance. Furthermore, environmental pollution of antibiotics into natural water sources and sewage results in increased environmental concentrations of resistance genes. These genes can spill into humans by exposure to microbes in these environments (9). Agriculture provides another increase in the concentration of resistance genes (10). Livestock are fed antibiotics, which increase the weight of animals in an as-of-yet not understood mechanism. A deleterious consequence of this increase in yield with antibiotic usage is the increase in resistance in response to this widespread antibiotic usage. These resistance genes then find their way into humans, whether through ingestion of food contaminated with resistant microbes. Science and technology can solve the problem, but face institutional and biological challenges There are both institutional and scientific challenges to combating emerging disease and antibiotic resistance. Some of these problems are easily apparent as I have described above: countries with laxed restrictions on who can obtain antibiotics, countries where the drugs are used often over-prescribed, suburbanization, and global warming all contribute to the problem. Scientifically, there are challenges in that novel diseases are difficult to combat. The novel Coronavirus had the precedent of other coronaviruses (i.e. SARS and MERS) that had been studied and their virology dissected, but that won’t necessarily be the case everytime a novel pathogen infects a human. A technological benefit to this problem is the use of meta-genomics, which allows for DNA/RNA sequencing without prior knowledge of the nucleic acid sequence of the genome. Within weeks of the first identification of the virus, its sequence was available to researchers. This was not the case during the outbreak of SARS-CoV1, when meta-genomics approaches such as Illumina Sequencing, NanoPore Sequencing, and Pacific Biosciences Sequencing were not available. In the event of a novel disease emergence, this information would be vital to combating the pathogen. Despite not knowing necessarily what the next threat will be, expanding the human knowledge base on microbes is an essential component of any plan to fight emerging diseases. Any emerging disease is likely to be similar to other microbes that we have encountered, and knowledge of the physiology of these organisms helps to understand weaknesses, transmission, and potential therapeutic targets. The study of all microorganisms therefore benefits the effort to combat the next pandemic, as any one piece of information could be critical. Surveillance is perhaps the most important tool to fight emerging infectious disease; knowing the problem exists is a crucial step to curbing spread. A recent example of successful surveillance can be seen in a recent PNAS publication regarding the presence of potential pandemic influenza in hogs, and the presence of antibodies against this particular class of flu viruses in swine workers (11). While at present it does not appear that the virus has acquired the ability to cause a pandemic, this knowledge allows for immunologists to potentially include viral antigens specific to this particular viral class in seasonal vaccines. Surveillance is critical in controlling both emerging diseases and antibiotic resistance: knowledge of what potential pathogens emerge where, and what microbes are exhibiting resistance to what drugs, can drive containment and treatment efforts. To combat antibiotic resistance, new drugs must be developed, but there are hurdles in identification, validation, and production of new antibiotics. First, potential new antibiotics have to be either identified or designed. This often involves looking through filtered environmental samples to determine the presence of small molecules that inhibit bacterial growth, or chemically altering known drugs to circumvent drug resistance. This is not necessarily difficult, as there are microbes in the soil and water that produce potential therapeutics, but this does require both time and money, as well as the consideration that it is likely that resistance to that novel therapeutic exists in the environment from which it was pulled. New drugs must be safe, but due to the abundance of antibiotics presently in use and their historic efficacy, the standard for antibiotics to pass safety regulations is extremely high. As drug resistance becomes more common, it will become apparent that more and more side effects may have to be tolerated to prevent death due to bacterial infection. Finally, and the most important challenge to developing antibiotics is that the profit margin on antibiotics is low for drug companies in the present market, disincentivizing research and production of novel drugs. In addition to stand-alone antibiotics, new inhibitors of resistance must be developed as well. Clavulanic acid is one such inhibitor, and is administered with the beta-lactam drug amoxicillin to improve its ability to kill bacteria. Bacteria that are resistant beta-lactams often encode enzymes called beta-lactamases. Beta-lactamases break open the active portion of the beta-lactam molecule, rendering it ineffective in attacking its target. Clavulanic acid is a beta-lactam itself, and is a target for the beta-lactamase enzyme; however, when the enzyme begins to degrade clavulanic acid, the enzyme becomes stuck at an intermediate step in the reaction, rendering the beta-lactamase enzyme useless. These drugs must also be explored and screened for in environmental samples, as well as developed. It is possible to take a rational approach to drug design, with increasing knowledge of how resistance mechanisms work. This means that scientists specifically look at, say, a beta-lactamase enzyme at the molecular level, and design a small molecule that will fit into the enzyme and block its function. Chemists then design the molecule to test its efficacy. Ultimately, scientists either know how to solve the problem, or know how to get the tools they need to solve the problem. It is the institutional challenges that make the problem more difficult to solve. How legislation can improve the ability of scientists to combat emerging disease and drug resistance In discussing emerging diseases and antibiotic resistance, I try to draw parallels to the problem of global warming: a global problem with global solutions. I don’t have a novel solution to climate change to discuss here, other than to parrot this subreddit’s typical ideas, so I will omit that discussion here. That is to say, global warming is a driver for emerging infectious disease, and fighting global warming is important to combat the potential rise of fungal pathogens. I will, however, discuss some ideas for combating emerging disease and drug resistance. These ideas are mostly derived from scientists familiar with the problem, Funding for research, basic and applied, is crucial. No bit of knowledge hurts in the fight against human disease. Learning how Alphaviruses replicate, determining the structure of E. coli outer membrane proteins, and examining the life cycle of the non-pathogen Caulobacter crescentus all contribute to the fight against the next disease. The more we know, the more powerful our vision is in understanding the inner machinations of disease. Every immune response, every molecular mechanism, and every aspect of microbial physiology is potentially a drug or vaccine target, a clue into pathogenesis, or an indication of how a bug is likely to spread. The Trump administration has not been kind to science funding (12). Science that does not appear to have benefit at first glance often does in the long run, and for this reason I will stress the importance of funding research of this sort, as well as funding applied research. Knowing is half the battle. In combating emerging diseases, it is important to know they exist. As I have mentioned the example of recent viral surveillance with regard to the novel reassortment influenza viruses, I would like to stress the importance of funding surveillance programs in fighting emerging disease and drug resistance. There are currently US governmental surveillance programs that provide valuable information about the spread of drug resistance, such as NARMS in the United States (13). In the United States, there is a need for greater accountability in using antibiotics. Resistance is unlikely to completely go away, even when the use of an antibiotic is discontinued, but the levels of resistant bacteria dwindle when the selective pressure is reduced. For this reason, several medical practitioners have proposed a rotating schedule of prescription antibiotics, that includes the retention of some new antibiotics from use. The reasoning for this is that, in the years following the halted use of a particular antibiotic, it is expected that the concentration of resistant bacteria will decrease. As I discussed with the example of always wearing a welding helmet, carrying resistance genes often imparts some form of growth defect on the resistant bacteria (for example, altering an essential gene targeted by an antibiotic may render the bacteria resistant, but there is a reason such a gene is essential, in that it’s required for growth; changing the gene in a substantive way may negatively impact its performance and by extension make these resistant bacteria less fit). A rotating cycle of what antibiotics are allowed to be prescribed, informed by surveillance data, would buy time for the development of new antibiotics as well. Additionally, higher standards should be required for the prescription of antibiotics, to increase accountability of physicians; these standards could involve clinically verifying the presence of susceptible bacteria prior to administering a drug in situations where the disease in not life-threatening. There is a need to reduce the environmental pollution of drugs into sewage and natural bodies of water as well. This will require research into cost-effective methods for reducing the population of resistant bugs and drugs in these environments. In the case of natural bodies of water, a source of contamination is often factories where drugs are produced. Often, waters near these factories have high levels of antibiotics that select for resistance to develop and spread. This may require legislation to improve environmental outcomes, as well as surveillance of drug resistance gene levels and the levels of antibiotics in these waters to ensure compliance. There is also a need to halt the use of antibiotics in treating livestock (14). Halting the use of antibiotics typically results in reductions of antibiotic resistant bug populations within a year or two (10). I don’t know of studies that estimate the economic cost of halting use of antibiotics in American meat, but in the case of Denmark, livestock production does not appear to have been significantly impacted. I think that the most challenging problem will be for drug companies to develop new antibiotics when there is not presently a financial incentive to do so. Because antibiotics are still largely effective, and the financial benefit to adding an antibiotic to the market does not outweigh the cost to put a drug to market, there is not currently a large incentive to produce new drugs (15). To address this negative externality, it is necessary to generate financial incentives of some form for the production of new antibiotics. This may take the form of subsidizing antibiotic discovery efforts and drug safety trials; additionally, applied research with the goal of specifically finding new antibiotics should see increased funding. To combat the problem overseas, it is obvious that obtaining an antibiotic course must occur through a doctor. This eliminates false self-diagnoses of bacterial infections. The problem of wet markets may be partially resolved by preventing animals that do not regularly contact each other from being traded and stored in the same vicinity as animals that are not typically encountered. This may involve limiting a particular wet market to the trade of animals that come from a particular geographic area, preventing geographically diverse microbes from encountering each other. It's on all of us to stop the next pandemic: If you made it this far, thank you reading this post and I hope that I have convinced you of the importance of this issue! There are simple steps that we can all take as consumers to reduce antimicrobial resistance: don’t take antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor and buy meat that was produced without antibiotics. I welcome any and all criticism, and would love to hear people's ideas! Please let me know of any errors as well, or any missed concepts that I glossed over. I've been excited to give my two cents to this sub, and I don't want to mislead in any way. Sources: 1: Andersen, KG, et al. 2020. The Proximal Origin of Sars-CoV-2. Nature Medicine 26: 450-452. 2: Su, Shou, et al. 2016. Epidemiology, Genetic Recombination, and Pathogenesis of Coronaviruses. Cell Trends in Microbiology 24(6): 490-502. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2016.03.003 3: Munita, JM; Arias, CA. 2016. Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance. Microbiology Spectrum VMBF-0016-2015. doi:10.1128 /microbiolspec.VMBF-0016-2015. 4: Shah, NS; et al. 2007. Worldwide Emergence of Extensively Drug-resistant Tuberculosis. Emerging Infectious Diseases 13(3): 380-387. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2725916/ 5: CDC Antibiotic Threats Report, 2013. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/ar-threats-2013-508.pdf 6: CDC Antibiotic Threats Report, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/threats-report/2019-ar-threats-report-508.pdf 7: Barbour, AG; Fish, D. 1993. The Biological and Social Phenomenon of Lyme Disease. Science 260(5114):1610-1616. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8503006/ 8: Casadevall, A; Kontoyiannis, DP; Robert, V. 2019. On the Emergence of Candida auris: Climate Change, Azoles, Swamps, and Birds. mBio 10.1128/mBio.01397-19. https://mbio.asm.org/content/10/4/e01397-19 9: Kraemer, SA; Ramachandran, A; Perron, GG. 2019. Antibiotic Pollution in the Environment: From Microbial Ecology to Public Policy. Microorgansims 7(6): 180. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6616856/ 10: Levy, S. 2014. Reduced Antibiotic Use in Livestock: How Denmark Tackled Resistance. Environmental Health Perspectives 122(6): A160-A165. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4050507/ 11: Sun, H, et al. 2020. Prevalent Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza virus with 2009 pandemic viral genes facilitating human infection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencehttps://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1921186117. 12: Kaiser, J. 2020. National Institutes of Health would see 7% cut in 2021 under White House plan. Science Magazine. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/national-institutes-health-would-see-7-cut-2021-under-white-house-plan 13: About NARMS: National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria. https://www.cdc.gov/narms/about/index.html 14: Khachatourians, GG. 1998. Agricultural use of antibiotics and the evolution and transfer of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. CMAJ 159(9):1129-1136 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1229782/ 15: Jacobs, Andrew. 2019. Crisis Looms in Antibiotics as Drug Makers Go Bankrupt. The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/366f7it
Hello everyone. Following the reveal of some arguably disappointing sequels to hotly awaited products, I wanted to give my take on how Samsung could avoid another lame year with their flagships. I believe overpricing their products, having a muddled and confusing product line and skipping out on some of the products users actually want as well as skimping on some specs on their devices, for whatever reason, probably did not help their case. Also, COVID-19 probably didn’t help either, but it’s no excuse for them not to reflect and improve. So, I have devised a refined product lineup that makes more sense, is easier to understand, accommodates more users and helps add obvious definition to their products and the type of user they are aimed at. For those saying it’s impossible, just stop. It isn’t. A multi-billion dollar corporation can pull this off, assuming they’re more interested in brand image, reputation and keeping their users happy rather than just money. At this point, the entire industry is suffering because Samsung is not kept on edge, so I think that should change. Also, to those saying Samsung won’t read it, save your breath: I don’t care. I enjoy writing. Product Line: For the sake of keeping the naming scheme inline and exciting sounding, I’d replace the possible S21 name with S30, upgrade the Fold 3 and Flip 3 to 30, and the Tab S8 to S30 accordingly. "The 30 Series"
Galaxy S30 Compact
$700 USD; 4,000 mAh battery; 5.4 inch screen
$800 USD; 4,500 mAh battery; 5.8 inch screen
Galaxy S30 Ultra
$900 USD; 5,000 mAh battery; 6.2 inch screen
Galaxy Note 30 Compact (same size as the S30)
$900 USD; 4,000 mAh battery; 5.8 inch screen
Galaxy Note 30 Ultra
$1,000 USD; 5,000 mAh battery; 6.4 inch screen
Galaxy Fold 30 (included S-pen)
$1,500 USD; 5,000 mAh battery
Galaxy Flip 30
$1,200 USD; 4,000 mAh battery
Galaxy Tab S30 (Tab S7 successor)
$750 USD; 7,500 mAh battery; 9 inch screen at 16:10 aspect ratio; instead of making a watered down “medium” size, make a small flagship tablet that people have actually been asking for. People who need more tablet will go with the larger model, but those who want a powerful but small tablet get this one.
Dual 12 MP primary rear cameras and dual 12MP front facing cameras, one wide and one ultra-wide (identical cameras on the front and back); this will keep the manufacturing price down and will avoid adding unnecessary features like a full rear-facing camera suite better reserved for the phone prospective buyers already have or will buy. The two rear cameras will be used for document scanning and AR applications while the two front cameras will be used for video calls, either alone or with a group such as friends, family or business associates.
Make an Apple Magic Keyboard competitor and don't charge any more than $150 USD for it. Android doesn’t have enough developer support for the tablet UI or serious applications that take advantage of the screen size and power that this device has, so just be happy that people buy this device at all. Since it’s only ever good for office work, streaming and mild gaming, don’t punish people for buying the keyboard with such lofty prices when it honestly should have been included.
3D Face Unlock instead of a Fingerprint Scanner. This is a no brainer. You don't pull tablets out of your pocket. Having it scan your face when you plop it open rather than having to angle your finger on a slanted screen makes a lot more sense.
Add 2 more USB-C ports. If you’re going to keep up the guise that the Tab S is designed for any modicum of work, it needs more than one port.
Galaxy Tab S30 Ultra (Tab S7+ successor)
$1,000 USD; 10,000 mAh battery; 12.4 inch screen at 16:10 aspect ratio
Otherwise identical to the its smaller counterpart
Specifications for all devices:
18.5:9 aspect-ratio 2960 x 1440p 120hz AMOLED (both running simultaneously, not a trade off like the S20) with HDR10+ support; basically the S9/Note 9 Series screens without the bezels; only exception is for the Tab S30 and S30 Ultra with their 16:10 screens
Improved earpiece and bottom-firing speaker system
Snapdragon 875+ with 5G for ALL REGIONS, OR a new, more powerful Exynos SoC for ALL REGIONS; pick a lane and stick to it!
If Samsung goes with the later, make this Exynos chipset more powerful and power efficient than its Snapdragon counterpart; help spur on competition and give people some hope that Exynos isn't just a cheap imitation.
12GB of RAM; no more 6GB or 8GB nonsense on flagship devices
256GB of UFS 3.1 base storage with micro-sd card expansion
45 Watt Wired Charging (INCLUDED IN THE BOX, don’t get cheap)
USB-PD 4.0 and Qualcomm Quick Charge 5.0 compliant
15 Watt or higher Qi Wireless Charging
IP65 and IP68 Water and Dust Resistance (they aren't the same)
Mil Spec 810G Drop Resistance (like LG devices)
Upgraded 3D Sonic Max fingerprint sensor: it needs to be quicker and more reliable
Make sure the minimum focusing distance is very low to allow for macro-photography
34MP or higher Tertiary 5x Optical Telephoto Periscope Lens
34MP is the lowest resolution a camera can have for 8k video, which can be used as a marketing ploy
VGA Time of Flight Depth sensor
Two 12MP Under-screen Front-facing cameras with optical image stabilization, F1.8 and 1.4 micron pixels like the Galaxy S10’s primary wide angle camera and the S20’s ultra-wide angle camera; this idea works well on the OnePlus Nord and would be a great selling feature for large group selfies and selfie video
Not a fan of the holepunch (don’t know ANYONE who is), but if it comes down to one camera under the screen or two in a whole punch, go with the latter. More is better. If the under the screen route is somehow impossible, use a small bezel on the top. Users don't mind.
DUAL-TONE LED FLASH. Stop being cheap and only including a single LED. Dual-tone LEDs have better color reproduction. Heck, Apple uses a QUAD LED.
An LG-style headphone jack with Quad-DAC tuned by AKG, and powerful AMP at least capable of powering headphones with 300 Ohms of resistance
People who use wireless earbuds and headphones aren’t going to skip out on buying new ones because the headphone jack returns. It’s a flagship feature for audiophiles, content creators on the go and people who just have a really nice pair of wired headphones kicking around that they’d like to use with Tidal. Instead of ousting them as potential buyers, add something they would like.
3 OS Updates (Android 12, 13 and 14)
4 Years of Monthly Security Updates
A Final 5th year of Quarterly Security Patches
Samsung can market this as a reason to switch from iPhone: an Android device with “5 years of updates”
Retroactively apply this schedule for ALL FLAGSHIP devices starting with 2017’s S8 and Note 8 Series. If the Tab S4 can have Android 10 One UI 2.1, there is no reason they cannot. It's as simple a port job as they come.
Add more grid-sizing options to the One UI launchehomescreen. I personally use Nova, but for those who don’t, they shouldn’t have to switch launchers to get more icons on screen.
Integrate Good Lock features into the Android 11, One UI 3.0 OS rather than as region-locked downloads. I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to region lock some software customization but it’s time that nonsense stopped.
Allow all 3 camera sensors to be used in Pro Photo and Pro Video Mode, 60 FPS capture and Slow-motion Capture. Also allow the highest resolution possible in Pro-mode. As a professional videographer, I still haven’t found the Pro-modes on my S20+ all that professional or liberating when you tell me what lens I can use and at what resolution.
Disable the obnoxious selfie-crop that pretends that using the whole sensor is somehow an ultra-wide mode. It isn’t, and rather it’s annoying and causes issues in other applications like Snapchat. Instead of causing unnecessary cropping and complications, just have one "angle" for the SINGLE front facing camera.
For pairing a phone to a tablet via “Call and text on other devices”, allow other text applications, like Google Messages or Textra, to sync up rather than just Samsung Messages. Link to Windows doesn’t care which app you use, so nor should this function either. It’s such an unnecessary requirement either way.
For all unlocked North American devices, indicated by the suffix U1 instead of U, release the updates DIRECTLY to the phone. It's absolutely insane that the current policy is to wait for every carrier to "approve" security patches before allowing a device, that by design is supposed to be free of carrier influence, to actually receive the updates. When the carrier models get the updates before the unlocked model, there is a problem. I remember some patches, say a June security patch, coming in late July on my unlocked S9+ because T-Mobile withheld it out of spite. Seeing as neither Apple nor Google do this with their devices, Samsung shouldn't either.
Work with software developers like Adobe to get feature-rich and fleshed out versions of PC software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Premiere, After-Effects, etc, onto Android. Android tablets are a hardsell to begin with, but if you're gonna make a powerful flagship tablet, it needs some serious software to go with it. Otherwise, if people want an HDR AMOLED screen for watching content, they can just pick up a cheap S6 and call it a day, thus leaving the Tab S30 dead on arrival. I agree, it should have been Google's job, but they aren't doing it, so it's up to Samsung to rectify this situation.
Questions and Answers
Why change the 20:9 aspect ratio back down to 18.5:9?
The taller aspect ratio is too tall. One handed use is actually impossible unless you are a basketball player. I had no problem reaching all 4 corners of the Galaxy S9+ but cannot do so with my Galaxy S20+, and I am willing to bet that is the case with most users, regardless of which variant they buy. There’s always the Ultra variants for users who want the most phone and enjoy the 2 handed experience, but for the rest of us, it would be nice to reach the whole UI with one hand.
Why have compact models of the S30 and Note 30?
There is a surprisingly large number of users who would prefer a smaller device, including those who like using the s-pen. Instead of ostracizing them from the Samsung community or forcing them to purchase devices they find too large and cumbersome, I think it would be a better idea to make a product that caters to them. This rings especially true for the Note 30 compact, that unlike the Note 10 and Note 20, is actually reasonably compact for the user who wants that form factor rather than a device that sits somewhere between the S10/S20 and S10+/S20+ in size, respectively.
Why include an S-Pen with the Fold 30?
Because it’s a tablet and should be treated as one. A stylus is invaluable for drawing, document signing, certain types of games and most importantly note taking. It makes perfect sense that the star feature of the productivity focused Note and Tab S lineups joins the folding phablet that acts as a step in between the two.
Why push for a headphone jack now?
Firstly, because I can, but more importantly, because it has a purpose. Ever since the Snapdragon 835, Android phone processors have been powerful to actually get some professional work done on the go, such as photo, audio and video editing, if you can find the right app. For the latter two, Bluetooth audio is not the solution. When exact timing and auditory clarity is key, a powerful headphone jack system is essential. Whether the user is doing this sort of work on their Note, Fold or Tab S, they shouldn’t be denied the tools to get the job done. Also, these are flagship devices, and if LG taught the industry anything, it’s that serious headphone jack systems are a flagship feature that can justify a large price tag. A dongle is easy to misplace, can break with little effort and doesn’t have the power to drive nicer headphones. Instead of having a moving piece outside of the device, it makes more sense to have it integrated into it. One the whole, I think people are getting sick of paying more and getting less, so why not change that moving forward, eh? I think it’s worth noting that a powerful headphone jack would not cannibalize Samsung earbud sales since they’re not made for the same user. Well before the headphone jack’s unceremonious removal, which Samsung had the gaul to make fun of just a couple years back, people still bought and used wireless earbuds and headphones simply because they’re more convenient for exercising or while on the go. The people who could afford it weren’t holding out and only using wired connections to spite Samsung. If removing it was a power-play to force users to buy Bluetooth buds, then that really shows a great deal of contempt Samsung has for its users. I encourage Samsung to prove me wrong.
Why improve the update schedule? “Most users don’t care about that stuff…"
Most people don’t care about sewer maintenance until sludge starts showing up in waterways. Most people don’t care about dental health until that cavity they’ve been ignoring starts to really hurt. Most people generally don’t care about a lot of things that aren’t immediately apparent or are maintenance related. THAT IS NOT A REASON FOR SAMSUNG NOT TO CARE. In the world of Android, things break, exploits are found and features added now aren’t finished or perfected until later. I see no reason why Samsung shouldn’t apply those patches, especially for the money people pay for these devices and since these devices have the hardware to survive a good half a decade of normal use. Shame on Google for not setting the standard or maintaining one to follow, but Android devices, like Windows computers or Apple devices, should be receiving updates as long as they are usable. It’s incredibly wasteful to have to cast aside a device because it’s vulnerable to hacking attempts, or the broken features it has that don’t work properly never receive a fix. Time and time again, I read about users switching to different brands because of the lack of updates. It is well within Samsung’s power to prevent this from happening and it really wouldn’t take that much work. Google’s implementation of Project Treble has done a lot in terms of making updating phones easier for OEMs, separating the security patches from the main underlying operating system, and making it easy to flash newer versions of Android with fewer compatibility issues. The ball is entirely in Samsung’s court on this one, and I think it’s time they went for a basket rather than dribble the whole match. The moment we as consumers demand that of them and cheer them on for doing so is the moment we all score.
"There is no economic incentive for Samsung to update their devices…"
Nor is there one for Apple or Google, unless of course you advertise it as a feature or benefit of buying a certain brand device. I think the $1000+ price tags Samsung demands are incentive enough.
You want more in your flagship and you want it for less money?
You better believe it. With phones like the $350 Pixel 4a, the $400 iPhone SE or $500ish OnePlus Nord, as well as previous gen flagships like the S10e, giving people what they want at a completely reasonable price, making the argument for flagship devices is a lot harder. The people who do buy flagships outright, namely tech enthusiasts, fanboys and people with a lot of disposable income, are a minority. Samsung is free to continue raising prices (take a look at this article on the Note series price increase), but then they shouldn’t be surprised that they are losing market share. I don’t see losing business as a winning strategy. Considering the margins they make on each device, perhaps giving people what they want and charging a more reasonable price to make the sale may be a step in the right direction.
Aren’t you being a hypocrite Mr. S20+ and S9+ owner?
No. I got my S20+ for $7/month for 18 months with a Sprint Lease, with a $300 buyout. Since Sprint is now T-Mobile and I get both benefits, I’m the winner here. $426 for a $1200 device and now good service too. My S9+ was $200 off on Black Friday 2018. I never pay MSRP and looking at the sales numbers for each successive S Series generation, I don’t think a lot of people do either.
How do you justify the tablets being so cheap when they’re bigger?
I don’t think there’s anything cheap about $750-$1000 when there are more capable iPads and Windows machines; the tablets are a hard-sell to begin with. Samsung should be trying to impress users at the prospect of an Android tablet by wowing them with a lot of specs for a decent price. The tablets also don’t have some of the features that the phones do, such as wireless charging and newer and better cameras.
Do you really expect Samsung to do all that stuff?
Eh. There’s always a ghost of a chance, but I’d be at least happier or more content that Samsung adopted some of these concepts rather than none. I would prefer they took ALL these ideas and ran with them but I don’t control them, do I? I also wanted to get all my ideas out there and in a place that I can easily reference or allow someone else to reference as to what people want and a better way of doing things.
Last Word to Samsung:
Do not price gouge in developing parts of the world. Something that costs $1000 USD in the USA should cost roughly $1000 USD by conversion in another country, not almost double. It’s bizarre hearing about Apple products being cheaper than Android and Windows-based machines because of OEMs mispricing their devices.
If you think anything should be added to this list, leave a comment! If you dislike this post, feel free to share why in the comments!
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