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Penn Libraries prepares for a new semester

The Libraries’ goals for the spring semester remains the same as before the pandemic—to get materials into the hands of library users, either literally or virtually.

From Penn Libraries

Diana Caramanico: Where are they now?

The leading scorer in Ivy League women’s history discusses getting buckets, staying out of foul trouble, her last game at the Palestra, playing professionally in France, and what she’s up to today.

Greg Johnson

Inside Penn

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NPR

Current, deadly U.S. coronavirus surge has peaked, researchers say

David Rubin of the Perelman School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said that while there’s been a decline in COVID-19 transmission rates in most parts of the country, it will take many weeks or months for the number of people getting sick and dying to fall. "It's going to take a while. There's going to be a long tail, unfortunately," he said.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

From the fashion to the flags, Joe Biden’s inauguration presents a vision of a unified America

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw of the School of Arts & Sciences weighed in on some of the outfits seen at President Biden’s inauguration. “There was a real conscious choice not to wear polarizing colors,” she said. “There was a sense of merging red and blue into one to visualize the bringing together of the country. These two hues have been used to politically separate us into tribes. This was a visual end to that.”

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The Washington Post

On conservative talk radio, efforts to tone down inflammatory rhetoric appear limited

Brian Rosenwald of the School of Arts & Sciences weighed in on how conservative talk radio hosts will address the incoming Biden administration. “A Democratic administration equals a new boogeymen to focus on,” said Rosenwald. “You might have offhand references or conversation about Biden being an illegitimate president, but the focus won’t be on the ‘stolen election’ unless and until there is fresh news on the topic.”

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The Washington Post

Some COVID-19 mutations may dampen vaccine effectiveness

E. John Wherry and Drew Weissman of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about how new variants of the novel coronavirus might respond to the existing COVID-19 vaccines. “We don’t want people thinking that the current vaccine is already outdated. That’s absolutely not true,” said Wherry. However, he warned, the mutations “do in fact reduce how well our immune response is recognizing the virus.”

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The New York Times

From ‘Alma’ to ‘Zuri,’ parents are looking for positive baby names

Jonah Berger of the Wharton School said popular baby names reflect what’s happening in culture. “Given the current mood, I wouldn’t be surprised if traditional names get a bump,” he said.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Testing, testing, and more testing on college campuses this spring as coronavirus concerns remain

Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé said Penn has budgeted $20 million for COVID-related safety measures, including testing. The University plans to conduct 40,000 saliva-based tests per week.

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The New York Times

Underselling the vaccine

Aaron Richterman of the Perelman School of Medicine said overemphasizing the COVID-19 vaccine’s imperfections and unknowns may do more harm than good. “Not being completely open because you want to achieve some sort of behavioral public health goal—people will see through that eventually,” he said.

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The Washington Post

The Trump presidency was marked by battles over truth itself. Those aren’t over

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center said people can be primed to believe false information through repetition. “What Trump did was take tactics of deception and played to confirmation biases that were already circulating in our culture and embodied them in somebody who is president of the United States. He didn’t change what was available, but he changed its accessibility,” she said. “That crazed content has always been there. But it becomes dangerous when it is legitimized and when it has the power of the state behind it.”

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The New York Times

Businesses aim to pull greenhouse gases from the air. It’s a gamble

Jennifer Wilcox of the School of Engineering and Applied Science spoke about companies pledging to eliminate their carbon emissions within decades. “Carbon removal shouldn’t be seen as a get-out-of-jail-free card,” she said. “It has a role to play, particularly for sectors that are very difficult to decarbonize, but it shouldn’t be an excuse for everyone to keep emitting greenhouse gases indefinitely.”

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The New York Times

Go ahead. Fantasize

Martin Seligman of the School of Arts & Sciences said dreaming about the future can help people live well in the present. “Imagining the future—we call this skill prospection—and prospection is subserved by a set of brain circuits that juxtapose time and space and get you imagining things well and beyond the here and now,” he said. “The essence of resilience about the future is: How good a prospector are you?”

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