NY Times Op-Ed: We’re Not Ready for a Flu Pandemic

Michael Osterholm has written a new piece for The New York Times.

The influenza season is just getting started in the United States, and it already promises to be more severe than usual. Hospital emergency rooms are filling up with flu sufferers, and pharmacies have reported medicine shortages. Twelve children had died as of last month. To make matters worse, in Australia, which experienced its flu season four to six months ago, the current vaccine appeared to be only about 10 percent effective against this year’s dominant strain. [NYTimes.com]

Do Democrats really believe Oprah could reenergize the party and defeat Donald Trump in 2020?

Amie Parnes dissects why the “Prospect of President Winfrey thrills Dems” for The Hill.

Within minutes of her speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday, Winfrey was trending on social media. The next day, the possibility of a “President Winfrey” dominated the headlines and the cable news cycles. While Winfrey has previously ruled out a political bid, her camp on Monday did little to temper the talk. [TheHill.com]

Watch Michael Wolff on the TODAY Show

Michael Wolff, the author of a new book that gives a behind-the-scenes account of the White House, defended his work Friday, insisting he spoke with President Donald Trump on the record and calling the commander in chief “a man who has less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth.” [NBCNews.com]

Read an excerpt of Michael Wolff’s book on the Trump White House

New York Magazine’s latest cover story is an excerpt from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which is out next week.

As the campaign came to an end, Trump himself was sanguine. His ultimate goal, after all, had never been to win. “I can be the most famous man in the world,” he had told his aide Sam Nunberg at the outset of the race. His longtime friend Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News, liked to say that if you want a career in television, first run for president. Now Trump, encouraged by Ailes, was floating rumors about a Trump network. It was a great future. He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, with a far more powerful brand and untold opportunities. [NYMag.com]

Great reviews for Jonathan Quick’s new book

Dr. Jonathan Quick’s The End of Epidemics comes out at the end of the month. Read reviews at Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus:

Quick, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chair of the Global Health Council, begins by assessing the many threats: overpopulation and expanded mobility thanks to travel or as a result of war; economic failings; weather disasters that lead to migrant movements and often end with malnourished masses in unsanitary camps; bioterrorism (it is remarkably easy to make ricin or spread anthrax); global warming, which is creating new environs for mosquitoes and other disease bearers; and factory farming, which is already leading to massive destructions of flocks to control bird flu. As a solution, the author offers his “Power of Seven” precepts: strong national leadership; resilient health care systems; research to promote active prevention and constant readiness; trustworthy communications; scientific innovation; resources and investment; strong networks of citizen activists (see what ACT UP volunteers were able to accomplish in the fight against AIDS). [KirkusReviews.com]

The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos helping China’s president Xi Jinping understand AI.

Quartz reports on how futurist Pedro Domingos’ book is helping China’s president Xi Jinping understand AI.

Released in 2015, Domingos’s book is an introduction to machine learning and how it relates to everyday life. The answer to all the learning problems of AI technology, argues Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, is an ultimate “master” algorithm that gives itself feedback to develop endlessly. He writes: “If it exists, the Master Algorithm can derive all knowledge in the world—past, present, and future—from data. Inventing it would be one of the greatest advances in the history of science.” [Quartz]

NY Times: Sandeep Jauhar on the first heart transplant

Sandeep’s latest op-ed for the Times is on the anniversary of the first completed heart transplant.

Fifty years ago this Sunday, the first adult human heart transplant was performed in Cape Town. It was an epoch-making advance in science — and also, perhaps, in human culture. The heart, heavy as it is with symbolism, has always occupied a special place in our collective imagination. Despite our relatively sophisticated biomedical understanding of its function, many people still think of the heart as the seat of affection and courage. When Barney Clark, a retired dentist with end-stage heart failure, received the world’s first permanent mechanical heart in 1982, his wife worried he might not still be able to love her. [NYTimes.com]