3/4/21 Power Five

1. Anti-Vaxxers Misuse Federal Data to Falsely Claim Vaccines Are Dangerous – “There’s been an uptick in VAERS submissions recently: There were 9645 reports in VAERS in December 2020 compared to 3454 in December 2019. January showed a more modest increase: There were 2162 reports from January 1 to January 22 this year, and 2058 over the same time span last year. In the past, an increase in VAERS reports has been associated with external factors. 75% of autism reports from 1990 to 2001 were submitted soon after the infamous—and repeatedly discredited and retracted—Wakefield study, one of the cornerstone events in creating the modern anti-vaccine movement. One study found that when a vaccine adverse event is being litigated, the number of reports for that adverse event increased in VAERS.”

2. Meet America’s 63rd National Park – “According to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.”

3. The Work You Do, The Person You Are – “And after pushing the piano my arms and legs hurt so badly. I wanted to refuse, or at least to complain, but I was afraid She would fire me, and I would lose the freedom the dollar gave me, as well as the standing I had at home—although both were slowly being eroded.”

4. Why SPAC’s Are Wall Street’s Latest Craze – “Around 250 SPACs were launched last year in America, raising $83bn. Things have only sped up since: in January an average of five were created each working day, amassing more than $26bn in capital. Because they tend to raise more cash once they find an acquisition target—around five times that in the initially listed pot— SPACs may be looking to buy firms worth as much as $500bn, about 1% of the value of all listed American companies. Look beyond the frenetic growth and you find a spectrum of SPACs, ranging from the earnest to the exuberant.

5. Fran Lebowitz and the Appeal of Formulaic Dressing – “In an article Lebowitz wrote for the Financial Times she refers to this not as a uniform, however, but as a “formula” which suggests greater nuance and purposefulness. It suggests that within her established framework, there is room to play. Someone like Steve Jobs, for example, had a uniform. He wore the exact same black turtleneck and dad jeans every single day. What separates Lebowitz is that she found a series of items that, at their core, worked together and over time, evolving with her tastes, allowed her to indulge in her love of clothes through slight variation.”