TR Online 2021: From Walkman designers, thrombosis puzzles and corona boosters

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As is well known, websites have the advantage that their editors can check which articles are particularly popular with users – updated daily, monthly or even by the minute. As every year, Technology Review checked the TR online archive between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and found the twelve most popular articles of 2021 from January to December for you.

In the popularity ranking, Corona once again clearly shaped the mix of topics – but that is by no means the only important topic of this once again exceptional year.

We wish all readers a lot of fun reading our review of TR Online 2021. It has three parts: On Monday we looked at the months from January to April, on Tuesday we are showing the most widely read May to August texts and on Wednesday the texts follow from September to December.

Ross Lovegrove has seen a lot in his long designer life. He was not only involved in the famous Sony Walkman, but also worked for the top German design studio Frog Design. In the TR interview, he spoke about his philosophy and the lessons that can be learned from earlier decades of design history. And that’s a lot.

“Electronic products are aging because of their fast cycle of natural obsolescence, because they are devices that are in a global competition for improvement and innovation with their competitors. We have to accept that things are changing and becoming obsolete,” he says. And he is also a little sad: “I have the impression that everything has become so replaceable and dispensable and that design that would have been considered unbelievable in the past is no longer even looked at today.” The interview with design legend Ross Lovegrove was the most-read article on TR Online in May 2021.

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After the first vaccines against the coronavirus were quickly made available, there were fears that there could be medical complications. One possible hazard that turned out to be a higher risk of developing thrombosis. Professor Dr. Rolf Marschalek from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main found at least one possible explanation for this side effect, which he explained in the TR interview.

Accordingly, the developers had apparently not considered uncontrolled splicing processes in the cell nucleus, which gave rise to freely soluble spike proteins that do not anchor themselves to the cell walls. The data was shared with the developers at AstraZeneca. The TR post on the adverse vaccine reactions had the most readers in June 2021 – although it has a very complex topic.

This topic is on everyone’s lips today, in winter 2021. But in the summer of 2021, the corona recovery phase, only a few people were interested in a booster vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, as most had just received the first (and possibly the second) vaccination. Nevertheless, there was already a debate about a booster vaccination. mRNA champion Biontech himself and his pharmaceutical partner Pfizer advocated it, as our article explained.

At the time, at least four countries had announced booster programs, including Israel, which was struggling with a delta outbreak. The country began giving a third vaccination to people with compromised immune systems, including cancer patients and organ transplant recipients. Today this is all standard – even the times between vaccinations are being further reduced. The TR post on the COVID-19 booster vaccine debate had the most views in July 2021.

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Am i beautiful In an internet full of seemingly wonderful pictures in the form of TikTok videos or Instagram postings, young people can ask themselves whether they can keep up. Women and girls are particularly affected. The now ubiquitous face filters make things worse, as evidenced by a background article by Tate Ryan-Mosley.

More from MIT Technology Review

More from MIT Technology Review

More from MIT Technology Review

More from MIT Technology Review

Because, despite the power and prevalence of filters, there is very little research into their effects. “This is really a problem because the filters go against whatever we’re always taught, namely, ‘Be yourself,'” says Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and an expert in virtual reality Research. He sees a difference between a playful use and a constant augmentation of ourselves in real time – and it is important to understand what these different contexts mean for children. The TR article on the effects of the online beauty craze was the top-read article in August 2021.


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