Category Archives: Reviews

Art: ‘Rembrandt – Master Of The Dutch Golden Age’

Arguably the greatest master of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt is famed for several types of works: his monumental history paintings, his self-portraits and, as beautifully exemplified by the transcendent Abraham and the Angels, his intimate biblical scenes.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.

The Dutch Golden Age was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1581 to 1672, in which Dutch trade, science, and art and the Dutch military were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first section is characterized by the Eighty Years’ War, which ended in 1648.

Health: ‘Ideal Exercise For The Heart’ (Mayo Clinic)

Mayo Clinic Division of Preventive Cardiology will be preparing a series of recordings focusing on Cardiovascular Disease states. This is the Exercise Series and this particular one focuses on exercise and the heart.

Covid-19 Vaccines: ‘Frequently Asked Questions Answered’

How does each of the available Covid-19 vaccines work?

Once the vaccine is injected, the mRNA is taken up by the macrophages near the injection site and instructs those cells to make the spike protein. The spike protein then appears on the surface of the macrophages, inducing an immune response that mimics the way we fight off infections and protects us from natural infection with SARS-CoV-2. Enzymes in the body then degrade and dispose of the mRNA. No live virus is involved, and no genetic material enters the nucleus of the cells.

Although these are the first mRNA vaccines to be broadly tested and used in clinical practice, scientists have been working on mRNA vaccines for years. And despite this wonderful parody piece. opens in new tab saying that the technology is “obvious,” in fact the breakthrough insight that put the mRNA inside a lipid coating to prevent it from degrading is quite brilliant — and yes, this may be the first time the New England Journal of Medicine has referenced a piece in The Onion. (Last reviewed/updated on 11 Jan 2021)

How should early side effects be managed?

Analgesics and antipyretics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are effective in managing post-vaccine side effects including injection-site pain, myalgias, and fever. However, the CDC does not recommend prevaccine administration of these drugs, as they could theoretically blunt vaccine-induced antibody responses.

Because of the small risk of anaphylaxis, sites that administer the vaccines must have on hand strategies to evaluate and treat these potentially life-threatening reactions. The CDC has issued recommendations on how sites should prepare. opens in new tab. (Last reviewed/updated on 11 Jan 2021)

How long will the vaccines work? Are booster doses required?

Since the vaccines have been tested only since the summer of 2020, we do not have information about the durability of protection. Data from the phase 1 trial of the Moderna vaccine suggested that neutralizing antibodies persisted for nearly 4 months. opens in new tab, with titers declining slightly over time. Given the absence of information on how long the vaccines will be protective, there is currently no specific recommendation for booster doses. (Last reviewed/updated on 11 Jan 2021)

Do the vaccines prevent transmission of the virus to others?

Many commentaries on the results of the vaccine clinical trials cite a lack of information on asymptomatic infection as a limitation in our knowledge about the vaccines’ effectiveness. Indeed, this is a theoretical concern, since up to 40% of people who get infected with SARS-CoV-2 have no symptoms but may still transmit the virus to others.

Nonetheless, there are several good reasons to be optimistic about the vaccines’ effect on disease transmission. First, in the Moderna trial. opens in new tab, participants underwent nasopharyngeal swab PCR testing at baseline and testing at week 4, when they returned for their second dose. Among those who were negative at baseline and without symptoms, 39 (0.3%) in the placebo group and 15 (0.1%) in the mRNA-1273 group had nasopharyngeal swabs that were positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR. These data suggest that even after one dose, the vaccine has a protective effect in preventing asymptomatic infection.

Second, findings from population-based studies now suggest that people without symptoms are less likely to transmit the virus to others. Third, it would be highly unlikely in biological terms for a vaccine to prevent disease and not also prevent infection. If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!

Until we know more, however, we should continue to emphasize to our patients that vaccination does not allow us to stop other important measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We need to continue social distancing, masking, avoiding crowded indoor settings, and regular hand washing. (Last reviewed/updated on 11 Jan 2021)

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2021 Books: ‘Radical Architecture Of The Future’ – (Phaidon)

This remarkable book features projects — surprising, beautiful, outrageous, and sometimes even frightening — that break rules and shatter boundaries. In this timely book, the work of award-winning architects, designers, artists, photographers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers — all of whom synthesize and reflect our spatial environments — comes together for the first time.

An important and fascinating collection of original projects by unique thinkers in the world of architecture and spatial design

Architectural practice today goes far beyond the design and construction of buildings — the most exciting, forward-thinking architecture is also found in digital landscapes, art, apps, films, installations, and virtual reality.

About The Author:

How does tomrrow look from your doorstep? For the author, curator, critic and cultural consultant Beatrice Galilee tomorrow’s buildings, building plans, or ways of thinking about our built environment, are already out there.

In her new book, Radical Architecture of the Future, she quotes the American scholar Donna Haraway who asserted, way back in 1985, that “The boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.”

Galilee patrols that boundary within the pages of her new book, in which she details works by 79 architects, designers, artists, photographers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers, each of whom are working at the most radical edges of architecture and spatial design today.

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Asia: An Economic History Of Thailand (Video)

The Thai economy is the second largest in southeast asia. Being right in the centre of one of the most vibrant economic clusters on the planet. Famous for its sun, sea and sand, Thailand is so much than just a tourist hot spot. Thailand’s Economy went on an incredible growth run during the second half of the 20th century. However, economic growth has slowed since the 2000’s, leading some to suggest Thailand’s economy is stuck in a middle income trap. What are the factors behind this in Thailand’s case? How did rice pledging impact the economy? And why Thailand pinning its’ economic hopes on the Eastern Economic Corridor?

Covid Prevention: ‘Smart Technology At CES 2021’

At this year’s virtual tech megashow, gadgets to protect you from Covid-19 are all the rage. But do you need a connected mask and a personal air purifier? What about a doorbell that takes your temperature? WSJ’s Joanna Stern checks out this new gear—from her basement. Photo illustration: Preston Jessee for The Wall Street Journal

Work Innovation: ‘2021 Nissan Office Pod Van’

The Nissan Office Pod is more than a workstation: it’s a fully mobile van with just enough creature comforts to make a day at the office feel like a quiet vacation.

The van, a Nissan NV350 Caravan, features an office desk and chair, though it can slide in and out of the back of the van, giving workers an open-air working experience when it’s extended. It stows away inside when needed.

On top of the Office Pod is a balcony that’s accessible from the interior. Official video show off a large lounge space, a patio recliner, and a sizable umbrella. The van also features a golf ball-like exterior with a scallop-like pattern along its sides, which sits above the slightly widened fender extensions.

Science Podcast: Aracibo Observatory Research, Environment & Behavior

Science Senior Correspondent Daniel Clery regales host Sarah Crespi with tales about the most important work to come from 57 years of research at the now-defunct Arecibo Observatory and plans for the future of the site. 

Sarah also talks with Toman Barsbai, an associate professor in the school of economics at the University of Bristol, about the influence of ecology on human behavior—can we figure out how many of our behaviors are related to the different environments where we live? Barsbai and colleagues took on this question by comparing behaviors around finding food, reproduction, and social hierarchy in three groups of animals living in the same places: foraging humans, nonhuman mammals, and birds.