Placing Bets on 21 #100

Deepnews Digest #100

Placing Bets on 21

Humans have been trying to predict the future since the Oracle of Delphi. As this last year proves, they have met with only occasional success, but that has not stopped them from trying. After last week’s Digest that looked back at 2020, this edition (the Digest’s 100th!) looks forward at what awaits us in the year we just entered, with articles that touch on predictions and prophesies for 2021. All gathered with the Deepnews Scoring Model.

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Published every Friday


U.K. variant puts spotlight on immunocompromised patients’ role in the COVID-19 pandemic

Scientists are still trying to figure out the effects of the mutations in B.1.1.7, whose emergence led the U.K. government to tighten coronavirus control measures and other countries in Europe to impose U.K. travel bans. But the new variant, along with research by Gupta and others, has also drawn attention to the potential role in COVID-19 of people with weakened immune systems. If they provide the virus with an opportunity to evolve lineages that spread faster, are more pathogenic, or elude vaccines, these chronic infections are not just dangerous for the patients, but might have the potential to alter the course of the pandemic.

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Palm Springs Desert Sun

For months, California kept a lid on COVID-19. Now it’s leading the surge

California did a better job handling the virus than other states early on. Experts say the latest wave is fueled by gatherings and mistrust.

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Editor’s Note:

One of the first predictions for 2021 is what will happen in the immediate next few months. Here our algorithm highlighted an in-depth piece from the Desert Sun looking at a surge predicted in California in January and what is behind rising cases. – Christopher Brennan, Editor


The year we gave up on privacy

All things told, 2020 was a bust for digital privacy. But 2021 doesn’t have to be.

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London School of Economics

Relaunch or disintegration? What Covid-19 means for the future of Europe

How might the crisis brought on by Covid-19 affect the future of European integration? Sir Michael Leigh identifies two distinct interpretations of the pandemic so far: a scenario in which Covid-19 becomes the starting point for a relaunch of the EU, and an alternative path in which the crisis precipitates the EU’s disintegration.

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Washington Post

Six ways your office will be different in 2021, assuming you ever go back to it

After a year in which the coronavirus pandemic upended the very concept of the workplace — one in which millions of white-collar workers traded office attire, business travel and lengthy commutes for comfy pants, webcams and virtual school with their kids — predicting 2021 office trends might be a perilous exercise.

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Has AI adoption plateaued, or is it just catching its breath?

It has been a wild year in every quarter, and AI development is no exception. On the whole, the year has been mixed for AI, as there have been both notable advances and new revelations about abusive applications of the technology. And the market for AI technologies appears to have plateaued, with a recent global survey finding no increase in AI adoption in the enterprise. This helps to explain why Element AI, a once high-flying startup that built AI applications for enterprises who otherwise lacked the requisite skills, was ultimately not able to survive on its own.

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WSJ ($)

Record IPO Surge Set to Roll On In 2021

Despite the Covid recession, companies raised more than $167 billion on U.S. exchanges this year

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The Conversation

V shaped recovery or W shaped double-recession for the UK? More like a flat U

The seeds of the 2020 UK recession were sown on March 23 when the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, put England into its first coronavirus lockdown. Over the following month, UK GDP fell by 19.5%. In comparison, during the last financial crisis GDP shrank by just over 6% between January 2008 and July 2009.

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LA Times

The housing market is red hot. How long can it last?

She and her husband, Rob, recently spent “well over” $100,000 on a complete remodel of their Encino house that added a backyard gazebo, custom kitchen countertops, new roof and imported bathroom tiles from Spain.

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Five Screenwriters on Their Hopes for Movie Theaters and Warner Bros.’ HBO Max Strategy

When filmmakers gather these days, the conversation tends to turn to how the coronavirus pandemic has decimated movie theaters — as well as to the related topic of Warner Bros.’ bombshell decision to stream its entire 2021 slate on HBO Max the same day they’re to be released theatrically. During a panel among screenwriters for Variety‘s inaugural FYC Fest, Judd Apatow (Universal’s “The King of Staten Island”), Aaron Sorkin (Netflix’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7”), Emerald Fennell (Focus Features’ “Promising Young Woman”), Kevin Willmott (Netflix’s “Da 5 Bloods”) and Andy Siara (Hulu’s “Palm Springs”) discussed those subjects and much more.

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Malaria Prevention Pushes Forward in Africa Despite Pandemic

But the Covid-19 pandemic will still leave a mark when it comes to malaria. While the worst of the model predictions may not unfold, Africa is still likely to see an increase in malaria deaths according to the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

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Will Business Travel Return to Normal With Covid Vaccine? Top Executives Are Split: Survey

Bill Gates recently said he thinks 50% of business travel will disappear.

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Editor’s Note:

As 2021 dawns, one of the biggest hopes is to return to a world a little bit more like 2019 than 2020. Here our algorithm highlighted a piece from CNBC that spoke to executives about their expectations. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Telegraph (UK) ($)

Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the speed of next year’s recovery

New technologies and the collapse of outdated businesses offer hope of a giant leap forward in productivity

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Times of Israel

Herd immunity by Seder night? Trailblazing Israel vaccinating faster than UK

Israel’s vaccination drive is off to a flying start, getting shots to the population much faster than the United Kingdom, which was the first Western country to ask citizens to roll up their sleeves.

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American Bar Association Journal

Chemerinsky: Predicting the Supreme Court in 2021 may be dangerous and futile

At the end of 2019, I attempted to look ahead to what to expect in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020. Of course, the most important stories — the COVID-19 pandemic and how it changed the court, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett — could not possibly have been foreseen.

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Project Syndicate

Living and Dying in America in 2021 | by Anne Case & Angus Deaton

Depending on how quickly and widely the recently approved COVID-19 vaccines are administered, some of these trends will be reversed, but only for a while. What death toll can America expect for 2021? The United States has already recorded more than 340,000 deaths from COVID-19 in 2020, and total excess deaths – including COVID-19 deaths that were not classified as such, and deaths from other cases that were indirectly caused by the pandemic – are about a quarter larger.

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The Globe and Mail ($)

Here are a few lessons for the new year

At a time of year when it’s traditional to look ahead, two bits of advice I encountered in the recent past keep springing to mind. First is the folly of predictions and forecasts even by the wisest souls since, as Margaret Heffernan notes in Uncharted, they too often miss the mark.

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Nikkei Asian Review

Asia in 2021: through a screen darkly

Travel bubbles, Zoom calls, Big Tech and vaccines. Is it possible to top 2020?

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A look ahead at 2021 through the rearview mirror of 1921 magazines

100 years ago, magazines were juggling a pandemic, an election and appalling social injustices. Sound familiar?

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Editor’s Note:

A new year is an opportunity to look to the future but also the past. Here Samir Husni, an analyst of magazines, looks back at the periodicals of 1921 and what they can tell us about now. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Foreign Policy

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2021

If there were a contest for the 2020 event with the most far-reaching implications for global peace and security, the field would be crowded.

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