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The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been temporarily suspended in multiple European countries

Out of all the COVID-19 vaccines that were being authorized at the end of 2020, the one developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca was the favorite of many. It was based on decades-old viral vector technology; it was cheaper, and easier to store and transport than its mRNA brethren; and for a vocal minority, it was (yet another) sign of British exceptionalism. Many — including me — wrote about the riskier nature of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, simply because they utilized mRNA technology, which had never been used before in vaccines.

Now, the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab has been temporarily suspended in several countries…

The F-35B fighter aircraft, capable of vertical take-off and landing

The United States of America is the land of the free — its liberties forever engraved in the Constitution. Few countries have the freedom of its citizens to carry a gun guaranteed by their founding texts, but America’s fascination with weaponry does not end with the Second Amendment.

A short history

America’s dominance in R&D is old news at this point. The Old World’s scientific hegemony essentially ended with the Second World War, when Europe almost committed suicide, and many of its prominent intellectuals fled the continent, seeking refuge in the US. …

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, enough for 5 jabs

After a grueling year marred by international protests and a global pandemic that has taken the lives of almost two million people, hope seems to finally be emerging in the horizon: several vaccines developed across the world have finalized their Phase 3 trials, received some form of government approval, and are now being widely deployed to the masses.

The German-developed and American-backed Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine has now become famous both for the life stories of the German company’s cofounders, and for its innovative delivery mechanism. Millions of people have already been given the first jab.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has also…

Cosmic Wedding, by Sabin Bălașa*

Every few years, you are called upon to elect your leaders — be it the president or the members of the Parliament, and this year is no exception. While enjoying your afternoon stroll in the park, you are approached by an enthusiastic clique of party volunteers. They would like you to support their ambitious plans of abolishing private property, ending class struggle, and making the concept of State a mere footnote in the annals of history. …

Ulysses and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper

Every generation seems to have its own siren calls — irresistibly seductive promises of better fortunes, that render even the most level-headed thinkers incapable of rational thought and moral scrutiny. Whatever the country you call home, it has probably weathered such temptations in the not-so-distant history, if it isn’t doing so currently.

One recent trend I’ve noticed is people’s increasing fascination towards The Free Market — by this I mean the unhindered, unbridled, unhinged market — and growing concern with the State. While a Government that overstays its welcome is always a good reason for concern, I feel history has…

The Great Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed with the Sun by William Blake

Our growing challenges surrounding the Internet are something I have hinted at before. Here is one reason why social media poses such a hard problem.

Since the invention of writing, roughly five thousand years ago, our means of communication have developed enormously. It is easy to forget that, in the grand anthropological scheme of things, the written history of humankind is a mere blip on the radar. For most of our existence, our brain has evolved in an environment where we could see the faces and hear the voices of those we communicated with.

It took a lot of effort…

The Tower of Babel by Anonymous Artist

A cloudy day in Paris made Henri Becquerel put his uranium salts and photographic plates back in the cupboard. Upon later retrieval, he discovered the plates had developed. The phosphorescent crystals were not reemitting light, but producing their own. Half a century and several billions of dollars later, humanity crossed a point of no return. “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, quoted Robert Oppenheimer — the de facto CEO of the Manhattan Project.

We can never put the nuclear genie back in the bottle, but we have so far managed to keep it hostage. The second half…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has somewhat-recently announced new eligibility criteria for the Oscars, which upset many. Here’s why none of it matters:

The Academy Awards are an industry award

What does that mean? Picture this: you work in an office, at a small corporation. It has only one branch. Every year, you rent out a local restaurant for an evening, where you all eat, drink, sing karaoke, and hand out acrylic figurines for best salesperson and best manager. That’s the Oscars for you; only the employers and employees are world-famous, and their party is broadcast on…

Let’s play a game of “never have I ever”. I’ll start: Never have I ever seen a documentary as redundant as The Social Dilemma.

The execution is technically without fault — something we have grown to expect from Netflix. Over 90 minutes laced with a soundtrack David Fincher would be proud of, the talking heads explain how the social media giants lure us in with the promise of endless entertainment and instant interaction, only to sell the skin off our backs to the proverbial advertising slaughterhouse. …

“If you’re not a liberal at 25, you have no heart; if you’re not conservative at 35, you have no brain” — goes the old saying. Here’s one reason why we become more conservative with age, and it has nothing to do with wisdom or intelligence.

Economists call it the sunk cost fallacy. Say you buy a film ticket. Even though the first hour is a chore to get through, you tend to stay until the end. “I’ve already paid for the movie, might as well finish it”. …

Paul Pantea

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