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Life and Culture

Life and Culture

The BBVA Foundation has awarded Susan Fiske and Shelley Taylor the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the category of Social Sciences for her pioneering insights, which have elucidated the role of cognitive shortcuts in shaping social interactions. The American social psychologists, two of the most influential working today, have been instrumental for understanding how these shortcuts in mental processing intervene in the formation of value judgments about other people or social situations.

One month before confining at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, chef Jordi Roca opened the doors to the latest proposal to come out of the Roca brothers’ world. Casa Cacao is one of their most personal projects to date, one that’s inspired by the pastry chef’s passion for chocolate. A boutique hotel that houses a chocolate workshop, right in the heart of Girona. Obviously, the hotel’s debut was tarnished by the events that unfolded soon afterwards. The youngest Roca brother is taking this isolation time to ponder about the problems that was the catering and hospitality industry will be facing after things go back to normal.

After the simultaneous paralysis of society and numerous economies around the globe resulting from efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, opinions on the relationship between the virus and climate change — how the pandemic is causing a global drop of pollution levels  — have been manifold. In the longer term backdrop there is an additional school of thought that is associating global warming with the emergence of new viruses that could represent future threats akin to that of SARS-CoV-2. How is climate change affecting the virulence, emergence, and re-emergence of viral threats?

Scientific information, and many essential niche concepts to tackle it, have lept into the spotlight. Understanding certain key scientific concepts behind the battle against COVID-19 and how SARS-CoV-2’s biological mechanisms actually work will allow us to navigate in the sea of information to better gauge the scope of the problem and the prospects concerning the development of potential treatments.

The anti-malaria medication has made headlines in recent weeks as a potential solution against coronavirus. How accurate are these news reports? “Hydroxychloroquine does have properties that could turn it into a new asset,” says Elena Gómez-Díaz, a researcher at the Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine ‘López-Neyra’ (IPBLN-CSIC) and recipient of a BBVA Foundation Leonardo Grant in 2017. The proven efficiency of hydroxychloroquine in malaria treatments could contribute to speeding up the development of a COVID vaccine.

Saving lives and preventing the collapse of intensive care units (ICUs). That is the priority for Spanish hospitals (and those around the world) during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report by the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid, which analyzed one of the non-invasive ventilators from China (Yuwell 730), concludes that “its use is expected to delay or even prevent the need to transfer patients to the ICU, and therefore help to relieve their saturation.”

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Noam Chomsky is one of the frequently cited intellectuals in history. Considered the founder of modern linguistics, he has written numerous essays that made their way around the world. In the field of linguistics, he introduced the ‘Chomsky hierarchy’, generative grammar and the ‘universal grammar’ theory.