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Angela Merkel explained the scientific problem with 'overconfidence' in lifting lockdowns

German Chancellor Angela Merkel answered a question about determining how and when to lift the mitigation measures most countries have put into place during the coronavirus pandemic, and her answer shows us what it looks like to have a scientifically competent person leading a country.

Merkel is an honors graduate with a PhD in quantum chemistry, which undoubtedly makes her one of the most qualified heads of government in this pandemic. Germany, despite being hit hard by the virus, has managed to start flattening their curve and has a far lower death rate than most other countries. (This New York Times article explains some reasons for why that might be.)


Merkel explained why lifting lockdowns is a "fragile" situation that requires caution over overconfidence and described how exponential growth works. In clear terms, she showed how even a small increase in the reproduction number—how many infections an infected person causes—makes a huge difference in how taxed the health system will get.

Angela Merkel uses science background in coronavirus explainerwww.youtube.com

Even with a translation from German, Merkel Comments on Merkel's video shared on Reddit show how much people appreciate a smart, educated, well-spoken person in charge—and how stark the contrast is with certain other leaders.

"Well, that's a Politician that understands basic numbers. Most others will try to deliver a speech they don't understand and butcher it."

"I'm flabbergasted seeing a politician explain the effects of exponential growth with cause and effect. This is so refreshing..."

"I don't understand. Why isn't she saying how great she is and how high the ratings will be for this clip?"

"Weird right? Also I am massively confused, but it feels like she uses long coherent sentences and I'm not used to that."

"When you are suddenly proud to be German and don't know how to deal with it. No, really. By comparison to many other countries, this must be my favorite response. I'm really not a fan of her politics at all, but I'm good with her response to this crisis."

On the one hand, seeing a leader who not only understands the science but can explain it simply is indeed refreshing. On the other hand, it shines an ugly spotlight on leadership that clearly does not understand the science and can't explain even the most basic concepts in full, coherent sentences.

And what's really sad is that no one even has to name a name for people to know who fits that bill.

Well done, Chancellor Merkel. Let us know if other countries can arrange to temporarily adopt you as our leader, please.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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