Stephen Buranyi


5 July 2022

Post-Sars Symptoms

In February 2003, Sars – the first Sars – hit Toronto, carried back from Hong Kong by an elderly woman who’d been to a wedding. The outbreak was the largest and deadliest outside Asia, with 241 infections and 41 deaths over the next few months. A team at St John’s Rehab Hospital followed up with fifty patients reporting post-Sars symptoms. John Patcai, the hospital’s chief of staff, has made the comparison between long Sars and long Covid. The window he offers is small and narrow: as interest in Sars dwindled so did funding, and after a few years the group stopped their battery of physiological tests, continuing to record only the patients’ psychological state and self-reported complaints.

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8 June 2022

Why Orbán Keeps Winning

Viktor Orbán is the longest serving elected leader in Europe. Thanks to his victory in April’s parliamentary election, the Hungarian prime minister will soon surpass Angela Merkel’s record as the longest ruling European leader of the 21st century. Achieving this on a nationalist platform explicitly opposed to international liberal values has made him a hero to the worldwide nativist right: Nigel Farage once called him ‘the future of Europe’; Donald Trump twice endorsed his latest election campaign; and last month CPAC, a US-based political conference central to the Trump movement, held a European version of their event in Budapest with the former president appearing via video link.

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16 April 2018

On the March for Science

A small crowd gathered on Saturday outside the Ministry of Defence in Westminster, just across from Downing Street, for the second iteration of the March for Science. Last year’s event, which nucleated around the specific threat posed to American scientists by the incoming Trump administration, drew tens of thousands of people to Washington DC, and more than a million more across 200 cities worldwide. The number in London was reported to be 10,000. This year there were fewer than a hundred.

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12 February 2016

Houses Built on Sand

In their report to Parliament last June, the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warned that ‘a substantial proportion of local authorities have reduced effort on adaptation.’ For local government, preparing for the long term effects of climate change was a ‘low political priority’ at a time of historic budget cuts.

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16 October 2015

Psychedelic Drug Therapy

In late 2009, the psychiatrist Friederike Meckel was arrested in Zurich and charged with multiple violations of the Swiss Narcotics Act. Meckel didn’t dispute the charges. She admitted that she and her husband, a lawyer, hosted group therapy sessions at their mountain villa, where therapist and patients – including doctors, academics and lawyers – took MDMA and LSD. The group was undone by an ex-patient, a woman who brought her husband to the sessions to work on their marital problems. He left her and moved in with Meckel and her husband; she told the police about the drugs.

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