Issue 30: from intelligent dolphins to a new world order

Dolphins & x-risk, comets, exporting AstraZeneca, the precautionary principle and planetary governance

Dear reader,

Welcome to this week’s issue of the Anti-Apocalyptus newsletter. Each week I send you five links about some of the most important challenges of our time such as climate change, weapons of mass destruction, emerging technologies, mass causes of death and great power wars. If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to subscribe at the button below, hit the heart button or share this email with anyone who could be interested.

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Aeon - Thanks for all the fish

Want to know what dolphins and existential risk have in common? Then this, slightly mind-bending, essay is just up your alley. In it Thomas Moynihan links research into the intelligence of other terrestrial species, particularly dolphins, to the realisation of humanity that life and human-level intelligence are quite barren in our universe. Which is why it’s so important to prevent human extinction.

Nautilus - Comets Are More Dangerous Than We Thought

Everyone knows the story about the asteroid that hit earth and killed the dinosaurs. But what if they weren’t killed by an asteroid, made out of rock and metals, but by a comet, made up out of ice, dust and rocky material? Some researchers now argue in favour of the last option, which would make comets a more dangerous threat to earth than previously considered.

NY Times - Let Our Doses Go!

We’re currently obsessing about how fast Western countries are vaccinating. Yet the key battleground against COVID-19 will not be Europe or North-America, but the rest of the world. Zeynep Tufekci wrote this great opinion piece about it, and how overstocks of vaccines, particularly the AstraZeneca one that isn’t approved yet in the US, could be exported to regions like Africa.

The Conversation - Blood clot fears: how misapplication of the precautionary principle may undermine public trust in vaccines

Many European countries have currently halted AstraZeneca vaccinations because of concerns over blood clots. They legitimated this choice using the precautionary principle, which means something can be regulated when there’s a suggestion of negative health effects, even when there’s no academic consensus yet. This measure can be useful in some cases, but it can also be dangerously misapplied. In this article a medicine safety expert argues why that’s the case for the AstraZeneca vaccines.

Strelka Mag - “New World Order”: For Planetary Governance

Cool essay by Benjamin Bratton about the need for planetary governance mechanisms in the aftermath of COVID-19, and the rise of global challenges like climate change. It’s quite artsy, and takes detours into fields like how our current global order falls short, global computational networks and even conspiracy theories about a New World Order. But all in all it’s a great read.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. Feel free to send me comments or remarks by responding to this email. If you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe at the link below, hit the heart button or forward this email to anyone who could be interested.