If an approved drug is recalled, should no drug should be trusted? Of course not.
Plus: See a robot the size of a grain of sand.
Research suggests Chantix can be a doozy of a drug, albeit fairly effective, writes Katie MacBride in today’s lead story. The smoking cessation drug’s recall this week is being used by people opposed to vaccines — not just mandated vaccines, but the general idea of vaccines — to attack usage of the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s a story that mixes sciencer and politics.
MacBride, an Inverse staff writer, shines a light on this ugly, muddled debate with succint clarity:
Basically, [anti-vaccine advocates] are saying that because an approved drug was recalled, no drug should be trusted and certainly shouldn’t be mandated.
It’s completely healthy to have some skepticism about what you put in your body, or think the FDA should have more stringent guidelines for drugs. Drug recalls happen every year, sometimes mandated by the FDA. Other times, like in the case of Chantix, the recall is initiated by the manufacturer.
Keep scrolling for more on this urgent topic and more in this edition of Inverse Daily.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, and this is Inverse Daily. Please share this science & innovation newsletter with a friend by sending them this link.
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Why anti-vaxxers are twisting the facts — Katie MacBride reports that after Pfizer recalled Chantix, vaccine opponents felt vindicated. Here’s why a logical fallacy is at play:
When the smoking cessation medication, Chantix, was trending on Twitter Monday, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t just because the manufacturer had recalled it.
Yes, the recall of the drug (generic name: varenicline) was making headlines, but many were using those headlines to make a different point: arguing that the recall reinforces the idea that you can’t trust the safety of medications. Specifically, some argued, the recall meant you can’t trust the Covid-19 vaccine.
It didn’t help that Chantix’s manufacturer, Pfizer, has for many become synonymous with the Covid-19 vaccine. The majority of vaccinated adults in the United States have gotten Pfizer’s two-dose mRNA vaccine.
- Scientists reveal an overlooked benefit linked to vaccinations
- Covid-19 breakthrough infections: 4 reasons some people get them
- Is it a crime to forge a vaccine card? And what’s the penalty for using a fake?
Earth's twin — Kiona Smith reports on new research that looks at our early Solar System:
The eight planets of our Solar System aren’t the only ones we’ve ever had — they’re merely the survivors.
But that doesn’t mean the other planets were destroyed. Earth may have a long-lost sibling somewhere in interstellar space. At least one rocky planet, around the same mass as Mars, may have been booted out of the early Solar System.
These are just some of the findings compiled in a recent review paper in the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, taking a look at the mysterious third zone of our Solar System, those points past Neptune and out into interstellar space.
More freaky stories about the solar system:
- Astronomers narrow in on where Planet 9 might be hiding
- The reason our Sun hasn't killed us yet could improve the search for life
- Look: Fast-moving asteroid could help unlock Solar System secrets
Check out this sick frunk — Jordan Golson brought his camera with him when he drove the new Ford EV pickup. While it might be the most important electric vehicle yet, it also offers some intriguing design:
Because it’s electric, the F-150 Lightning doesn’t have an engine up front. Instead, there’s a cavernous storage space that Ford nicknamed the Mega Power Frunk. The Mega Power Frunk is large enough to store two full-size golf bags, and it comes with four 110-volt power ports capable of outputting 2.4 kilowatts of power.
There’s also a storage bin with a drain plug that can be filled with ice and drinks for tailgating — or, frunkgating?
A lot is riding on this truck:
- One ride in the new electric Ford F-150 told me everything I needed to know
- Ford turned its Rocket League F-150 into a real truck
- Ford F-150 Lightning price, range, specs, release date for the electric pickup truck
A robot as small as a grain of sand — Jenn Walter writes that at the size of a grain of sand, “microfliers” were inspired by helicopter seeds that fall off maple trees:
At first glance, these might look like tiny shreds of tinfoil on a piece of glass. But look closer, and you’ll see the specks are actually intricate structures — tiny robots, called microfliers. Though they have no motor or engine, the microfliers can soar on the wind like seeds. Researchers writing in a September 22 report in the journal Nature say these devices are the smallest man-made structures capable of flight.
Read the full story and see the photos.
Learn more about the future of robots:
- The future’s most agile robots could be based on a cute backyard rodent
- Video: Leaping squirrels could help us build more agile robots
- Why robots don’t deserve names
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