data privacy, consumers, survey, protection
The author writes, “The vast majority of consumers have a poor understanding of data privacy issues yet think they are proactive in protecting themselves, according to a survey of US and UK residents. More than 83% of 1,000 people surveyed said they were proactive in maintaining their data privacy, but they did not take basic precautions to protect their data — showing a lack of education without a corresponding drop in confidence.” Photo credit: Pxhere

What Went Wrong With America’s $44 Million Vaccine Data System? (Dana)

From MIT Technology Review: “Unless you’re in one of the few states using it, you may not have heard of VAMS [the Vaccine Administration Management System, built by the consulting firm Deloitte]. But it was supposed to be a one-stop shop where employers, state officials, clinics, and individuals could manage scheduling, inventory, and reporting for covid shots — and free for anyone to use. Instead, ‘VAMS has become a cuss word,’ Marshall Taylor, head of South Carolina’s health department, told state lawmakers in January. He went on to describe how the system has badly hurt their immunization efforts so far. Faced with a string of problems and bugs, several states, including South Carolina, are choosing to hack together their own solutions, or pay for private systems instead.”

Joe Biden Could Decriminalize Weed in 2021. Legalizing It Is a Different Story. (Dan)

From Esquire: “Joe Biden has promised time and time again to be a president for all Americans. All of them. One more time for the cheap seats: all of them. As it happens, nearly all Americans (91 percent of them, to be precise; the other 9 percent likely have a stick so far up their asses they think it’s touching God) believe marijuana ought to be legalized for medical use at the very least. In 2020, the country hit an all-time high of people who want the drug completely legalized — 68 percent, according to Gallup. And yet, as President Biden redid the Oval Office, federally speaking, marijuana remains incredibly illegal, a Schedule I drug with ‘no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.’ That’s about as outdated a view as belief in a flattened earth.”

Braille Is Everywhere, but Most Blind Kids Can’t Read It. A Competition Hopes to Change That (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The Perkins Brailler is 70. It made its debut in 1951, in the midst of a ‘blindness epidemic,’ caused by oxygen therapy for premature infants, that forced the rapid integration of visually disabled students into American classrooms. By 1960, when the last of this cohort was entering kindergarten, more than half of blind students could read and write tactile script. Today, fewer than 10% of visually disabled Americans do — perhaps a shock to many sighted people, who see Braille everywhere. In fact, the Braille dots on parking meters, bathroom signs and ATMs were already illegible to most blind Americans when the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 put them there.”

Warmer Climate May Make New Mutations More Harmful (Mili)

The author writes, “A warmer global climate can cause mutations to have more severe consequences for the health of organisms through their detrimental effect on protein function. This may have major repercussions on organisms’ ability to adapt to, and survive in, the altered habitats of the future. … Natural environments are being transformed at an ever faster rate, owing to ongoing climate change. This is bringing new life conditions for many species.”

How Much Did Grandmothers Influence Human Evolution? (Dana)

The author writes, “[Anthropology professor Kristen] Hawkes found a correlation between how well children grew and their mother’s foraging work, until the mother had another kid. Then, their growth correlated with ‘grandmother’s work,’ she says. … These observations, which Hawkes and collaborators began in the 1980s, have helped fuel the Grandmother Hypothesis, the idea that grandmothers step in to feed young children and perform other motherly duties so that mothers can focus their own energy and resources on having more children at shorter intervals. The result is that a grandmother enables the birth of more descendants, leaving more copies of her genes in subsequent generations. In prehistoric times, the theory goes, grandmothering led to the spread of genes corresponding to slower aging in women relative to their predecessors, which increased expected lifespans in general.”