Ian Robinson

April 1, 2021

Ian Robinson's Weekly Digest 28th March 2021

Here's the latest Weekly Digest with pointers to things that have caught my eye. It has eleven items, including three new music releases. All links from names go to a Twitter account or a website. This edition of the digest is being published late. Hopefully the future editions will appear on a Sunday!

Science - COVID-19 - Vaccination!
I got my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccination last Saturday at the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital. They have a pretty slick operation, with a steady stream of people going in and coming out the other side with the vaccine in their arm and a date for their second appointment. The UK decided a few months ago to extend the time between shots from three to twelve weeks so that more people could quickly get at least one dose of the vaccine and partial protection. There was plenty of criticism of this idea from within the UK and globally. Including by me. The data from studies carried out on high-risk health workers who have had one dose has fully vindicated the decision, in my opinion. A single dose conveys 80% protection.

Science - Geology - News
Eruption in Iceland may mark the start of decades of volcanic activity - National Geographic - Link
A new volcano erupted near Reykjavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula about two weeks ago. Geologists think that the region may be seeing the start of a sustained period of seismic and volcanic activity. The webcam views of the eruption have been captivating me for days! This National Geographic article has good detail on the activity that preceded the eruption.

Science - Geology - Research
Ancient Rocks Reveal When Earth’s Plate Tectonics Began
- Quanta Magazine - Link
One of the reasons why there are volcanoes is activity along plate boundaries due to plate tectonics and mantle plumes. Coincidently, recent research seems to pinpoint the point when plate tectonics started about 3.2 million years ago.  Quanta Magazine has a good article on the research.

Science - Reference
Topics Index - Quanta Magazine
- Link
Quanta Magazine is an excellent source of science articles, news, and videos. They also maintain an excellent index of the topics they have covered. If you ever need to find out more about a topic, then the index is a good place to start.

Technology - Education
Apple expands free professional learning to help teachers champion creativity
- Apple - Link
Apple updated their Everyone Can Create curriculum resources. There are many ebooks and tools to teach creative subjects like music creation, video, drawing, and programming. The good thing is these resources are available for free to anyone. So anyone can use them for self-study! 

Technology - Code Breaking
The Solution of the Zodiac Killer’s 340-Character Cipher -
Wolfram Blog - Link
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer in San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s. Police never caught the killer. Whoever it was, sent cryptic codes to the press in letters that also said if the codes were deciphered, then the killer's identity would be revealed. The last code sent had remained unbroken since the 1970s. As a lockdown project, Sam Blake decided to try to crack the code. He succeeded using Mathematica and a high performance computing cluster. The FBI acknowledged the code was solved and that the case was still under investigation. 

Culture - Social Media
To quell misinformation, use carrots — not just sticks
- Nature - Link
Misinformation is rampant on social media. It causes real harm. As can be seen from the anti-vax nutters and their ilk. This article in Nature discusses a possible system that rewards reliability and accuracy in posts or Tweets. Rather than just rewarding them for shares and retweets. An interesting idea. Something needs to be done.

Culture - New music I discovered this week
Now with Apple Music and Spotify links!

Core N Shell - Ego Pop - Apple Music - Spotify -Instagram
The Glass Child - Feeling Everything, Holding On to Nothing - Apple Music - Spotify - Twitter
Sofia Carson - Fool's Gold - Apple Music - Spotify - Twitter

About Ian Robinson

Writer, walker, atheist, Apple enthusiast, cinema lover, hobby musician, science junkie, perpetual maths student, cricket fan, chess patzer. Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.