Note — Aug 23, 2020

The Small Group

On a similar topic, quoted in the Matt Webb piece linked above, this one too overlaps with convening.

Around a dozen members is the sweet spot of social motivation: small enough to know everyone, yet large enough that the group won’t collapse if one or two members’ enthusiasm wanes; small enough that you are not daunted by competing with the whole world, yet large enough that you still need to be on your toes to keep up.”

How we hypothetically tamed COVID-19 and zoonotic diseases

Anthropocene Magazine — Very short near-future fiction with some ideas of how COVID and future zoonotic diseases might change our systems of public-health, international trade, and meat eating. Is there a word for plausible (as in, doable and appropriate) yet improbable (because politics)?

Handling the threat of zoonotic diseases became a government function as basic as wildfire prevention or flood control, and—apart from averting the next world-shaking pandemic—these programs helped treat the slow burn of comparatively low-profile zoonoses. […]

Scientists didn’t hesitate to shut down wildlife markets, but when it came to factory farming, they settled for risk mitigation: developing new vaccines, trying to stop dust and air from escaping buildings, monitoring workers for disease, and maybe promising them health insurance. […]

Regular citizens looked at supermarket meat aisles and fast-food value meals as pandemic lottery tickets. Eating those foods carried a social stigma, not unlike how Westerners a decade earlier had regarded bat-eating.