Editors' Picks: 12 April 2020

Editors' Picks: 12 April 2020

We’re reviving Editors’ Picks! Every Sunday, let the editorial team provide your weekly roundup of interesting stories, normally from the realm of economics. Normally we’ll focus on economics news. But these aren’t normal times. Since most news these days is about the economy’s apparently impending doom, we’re taking the liberty to step outside the field of economics. Despite our fervent passion, we need a break.

Kick back as you enjoy the stories you missed, reflect on the week that was and get ready for the next.

This week: game theory, the bees of Notre Dame, zoom diplomacy and meditation.

Vital Signs: A lesson from game theory the coronavirus contrarians ignore – Richard Holden

We’re in strategic interaction with a virus whose payoff is to infect as many as possible. “This is a game we cannot lose,” the author writes. Read this article for a game-theoretic analysis of the current situation.

Restarting America means people will die. So when do we do it? – The New York Times Magazine

Economics teaches us that everything has an opportunity cost. What’s the opportunity cost to saving lives from COVID-19? There will be–and has already been many–difficult compromises as we ease restriction and turn our attention to economic recovery.

Another way to see the recession: power usage is way down – Quoctrung Bui and Justin Wolfers

How can numbers on power usage substitute the usual economic indicators when the economy moves too fast to keep track?

Himalayan mountaintops visible for first time in 30 years – McKinley Corbley

Reduced economic activity isn’t bad news in every single respect. As air pollution has dropped around the world, residents of Jalandhar in Punjab, India can now see the Himalayan mountaintops.

Three good things: Animals making a comeback – Lucy Douglas

The bees surviving the ravaging fires of the Notre Dame are thriving!

The pandemic is turning the natural world upside down – Marina Koren

If the two articles above caught your attention, you may want to check out this more comprehensive article in The Atlantic. Researchers can now study land, air and sea in ways not possible during normal economic activity.

OPEC and oil-producing nations agree to huge barrel cut to boost crashing prices – Jon Gambrell

An explicit real-world application of supply and demand basics. In an effort to raise tumbling oil prices, oil produces just struck a deal to cut production by one tenth of the global supply. That’s a lot.

Which jobs are most at risk from the coronavirus shutdown? – Jeff Borland

The shutdown impacts all occupations, but which jobs, exactly, are most at risk? Prof. Jeff Borland, of the University of Melbourne, explains. 

How to run a continent via videolink – The Economist

Diplomatic interactions are often formal, staged, grand affairs. How does zoom diplomacy impact the EU’s ability to coordinate political and economic responses to the crisis?

Meditation through 10 simple steps – The New York Times

This guided course into meditation will help relieve dormant stress and reshape how you see the world.