The Big Dipper’s bowl and part of the handle photographed from the International Space Station.

The death and resurrection of awe

The death of awe was a necessary loss, collateral damage in the quest for realism as a personal, internalized brand.

When I found the clothing planted in the bottom drawer of my dorm room bureau, I knew instantly why it was there, who put it there, and what I needed to do. Scooping up the unfamiliar items, a purple Ralph Lauren button down lying on top, I made quick tracks for the laundry room and placed the clothes in one of the empty dryers. …


Families planning spring and summer travel can take steps to reduce risk, even though children can’t yet be vaccinated

Photo: Leo Rivas/Unsplash

As the U.S. vaccine rollout continues its slow march across the country, spring follows in its wake. That means parents are facing the arrival of spring break and, quick on its heels, the advent of summer. In the meantime, although trials of coronavirus vaccines in children are now underway, late summer is likely the earliest vaccines will be available for people under age 16 years.

In contrast, the adults in a family will theoretically be able to access vaccines by May 1, per the Biden administration. …


Hospitalized children with the inflammatory syndrome linked to Covid-19 have increased risk for acute kidney injury

Photo: xavierarnau/Getty

For a while, early on in the pandemic, the world sighed with some relief at the apparent low risk the SARS-CoV-2 virus held for children. That sigh turned to an intake of breath with reports of a new syndrome emerging in children, apparently associated with the virus and often coming on well after any apparent infection. It wasn’t the first 180-degree turn Covid-19 data had taken, and it wasn’t the last.

The syndrome, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, involved symptoms hinted at in its name: inflammation across many systems in children. …


Harvard panelists discuss what’s next for the country and the coronavirus

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images

On March 6, 2020, a panel convened at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where experts discussed their informed gut feelings about the likely course of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It ended up being the last in-person public event at Harvard, and a few days later, the world was officially experiencing a pandemic.

A year later, on March 5, 2021, the same experts reconvened to look back at 2020 and discuss what their well-informed guts have to say about the rest of 2021. The three panelists were Michael Mina, MD, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. …


Pandemic Reflections

How the pandemic made time a treasure of the privileged while it was stolen from everyone else

Photo: Jocelyn Michel/Getty Images

The day we began sheltering in place, a year ago on March 13, we celebrated a family birthday. It was the first of five we would share in the coming year, in the same place, in what felt like the same eternal moment, because we’d lost all sense of time. With all of us working and learning at home, without our usual cues that the day had come and gone — a departure for work or school, an arrival back from the trenches — one day was much like any other.

In the first few weeks of shelter in place…


Enlarged nodes in an armpit may be a side effect of Covid-19 vaccination

Photo: Sanja Radin/Getty

For those of us with breast tissue, the discovery of a lump in an armpit tends to immediately raise the specter of cancer. These lumps often occur at lymph nodes, which are debris traps for lymph fluid draining from the breast and all of the things lymph carries with it. Sometimes, cancer cells are among those things.

But the nodes also are a throughway for lymph draining from other parts of the thorax and the arm. It’s the arm that’s involved in the latest twist of the ongoing pandemic: enlarged armpit nodes after receiving one of the vaccines against Covid-19.


For social distancing and vaccination measures, the guidance is still to ‘stay the course‘

Photo: Margarita Cheblokova/Getty

The term “California variant” refers to a version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that emerged last year with three new mutations compared with its parent strain, but this variant is really a global traveler. It earned its name when it cropped up in Southern California in July 2020. By November 2020, the California variant had turned up in six U.S. states. Before the end of January 2021, its reach had expanded across oceans, where it has been detected in New Zealand, Israel, Denmark, Singapore, and the U.K.

But with three new changes, this initial California variant may be a mutation overachiever…

Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham is a journalist. Her book, Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis, published in 2020. Her book, The Tailored Brain, comes out in 2021.

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