Heroes

The World Is Watching Germany, And There’s 1 Big, Bright Reason Why

We're all seriously starting to think about how we'll power our stuff in the future — the math's gotten simple enough even for me. So is solar power a cruel fantasy or a real thing?

The World Is Watching Germany, And There’s 1 Big, Bright Reason Why


As our supplies of oil dwindle, many possible solutions keep getting thrown around. If you care about our energy future, you're left wondering whether any of these things are really possible. So it's heartening to learn that a 100% solar future is probably doable, even if it's by no means a no-brainer. It'll also require a real commitment from people and governments all over the world.

via Pexels

There are certain things in the real world that just can be duplicated virtually. No matter how hard we try, a virtual happy hour isn't as fun as a regular happy hour. It's difficult to find chemistry on a Zoom date, and virtual dance parties will all be something we make fun of when this pandemic is over.

My heart goes out to all of the students and teachers across the country who have had to make do with virtual learning over the past year. It's a frustrating thing for all involved, but it's the best we can do at a time when we have to be apart.

Distance learning can be an effective way for kids to learn, but a mother on Twitter just told the world about a thing called Zoom Detention and nobody's here for it.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less