New Year, New Quickies

Hello, fine readers! It is safe to say that the Fall 2020 semester absolutely kicked my ass in all the worst ways. After a bit of recovery time, I think I’m ready to take on 2021. That includes getting back to my weekly quickies here!

So, in the spirit of the holiday, I’ve picked some retrospectives and big-picture items that I think deserve a bit of reflection.

First off, Ed Yong has written another wonderfully researched and sobering long form article on the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us. That’s right, Year Two. He addresses the challenges of vaccine distribution, a patchwork disease response, and the way that this pandemic has exacerbated the already festering problems in our society.

Over at The Root, Professor Marc Lamont Hill reflects on what 2020 has meant for Black Americans in a video called “2020: The Year that Tried to Break Us.” It is absolutely worth a few minutes of your time, and then some.

NPR reported on a poll that shows that people believe bonkers things. Chris Jackson, a pollster with Ipsos, comments, “What this poll really illustrates to me is how willing people are to believe things that are ludicrous because it fits in with a worldview that they want to believe.” I think in the skeptic’s realm we’d be temped to say, “lol duh,” but then I remember how the broader movement collapsed as so many involved refused to realize that this meant EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US, too. In any case, this reinforces what researchers and professional communicators have been telling us for years about human biases and changing minds.

In my own realm of expertise, higher education has suffered greatly in 2020 with, once again, the exacerbation of pre-existing problems and inequalities. (You may need to sign up for a free account to read this, or, if you are affiliated with an academic institution, you might already have a subscription through them.)

Finally, no matter who you are or how lucky you think you’ve been amid the death and destruction of this year, it is likely that you are grieving something as a result of this worldwide pandemic. And you know what? It’s okay to accept that and to feel that grief.

I’m going to wrap up with the most adorable video that OG Skepchick A Sigler, friend and fellow dog lover, sent along.

Cheers, and keep in touch with us via the Skepchick Discord or reach us through our Contact Form.


Nicole is a professor, astronomer, educator, geek, dog mom, occasional fitness nerd, and maker of tiny comets. She is also very loud under the right circumstances. Like what you read? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/noisyastronomer

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