Two disparate New York Times articles really had me thinking this morning. The first is about AIDS in Africa, and is on the front page today. For a variety of surprisingly reasonable reasons, AIDS patients continue to be under-treated there, and reading the article left me feeling helpless. I applaud the Times for spreading awareness of this issue, and also applaud charities like the iHUG Foundation, which was started by a friend of mine and has truly helped a number of children in Uganda with education, healthcare and nutrition. My first thought, though, after reading the article was “why can’t all the brilliant people of the world just get together and figure out a solution?” But then I realized from reading The Checklist Manifesto that that’s exactly what does happen, and the reason that so many things are solved. It’s sad to think that, as they said in the article, in 2031 AIDS may still be an epidemic, 50 years later.
To be blunt, the second article was not as much of a downer, and just as much worth a read. The cover story of yesterday’s Sunday Magazine, “The Moral Life of Babies” was written by a scientist studying just that. Are babies born with morals? If so, how does that change? The age-old nature v. nurture argument, with a nice twist. It was interesting to see his findings, and also how they go about getting them (apparently, the eyes are the windows to the soul, even for the under-1 set.) The study found overall that babies are born with some smarts, almost as a foundation on which other intelligence builds, and that it’s similar for morals. The video on the Times website well-illustrates the experiments and is pretty adorable, too.