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Monthly Archives: April 2009
Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization emphasizes the dangers of virulent swine flu mutations and the need for ongoing vigilance: “For the first time in history we can track the evolution of a pandemic in real time. … Continue reading
I guess evolution’s true. It started as a pig virus, but then the swine flew. Bit pig, bit bird, bit us. Hybrid, efficient, new. Call it “pigavian flu,” sent from me to you. Obama can’t save us; no telling it, “sod … Continue reading
Whether or not the source for H1N1 was a Mexican pig farm (and this is by no means certain), the implication that this virus is somehow a “Mexican flu” and should be called Mexican flu borders on the racist, and carries … Continue reading
The Los Angeles Times today says that there may be indications that swine flu symptoms in those Americans infected are becoming more severe. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the virus may not be a very fast spreader: … Continue reading
According to the Los Angeles Times today, both face masks and frequent hand washing provide equal levels of protection: [N]o single action . . . will provide complete protection in areas with confirmed swine flu cases, health officials said. It … Continue reading
Swine Flu, Steven Spielberg’s JAWS, and When to Call People Out of the Water: Barack Obama Meet Roy Scheider
It seems to me that, in the midst of the Swine Flu pandemic, Steven Spielberg’s classic 1970s film, Jaws, deserves another look. In that film, Brody (Roy Scheider) struggles between balancing public safety with the disruption of an economy. This … Continue reading
Swine Flu and Darwinian Evolution: Is This Flu Strain Likely to Mutate into Milder Forms—or More Virulent Ones?
Two scientists appear to be saying contradictory things in a Los Angeles Times article on Swine Flu, but actually they are not. One scientist is quoted as saying that viruses tend to become symbiotic with their hosts: As the virus … Continue reading
Tissues and Sanitizing Hand Wipes: Two Inexpensive Things That You Need to Buy and Use Now to Protect Yourself, and Your Family, from Swine Flu
According to the New York Times today, Britain has started a new ad campaign to slow the spread of Swine Flu: In Britain on Thursday, authorities launched an advertising campaign urging people to sneeze into tissues and to wash their … Continue reading
A Reminder That Doorknobs, School Desktops, Shopping Cart Handlebars, and Buttons Are Vectors for the Spread of Swine Flu
This today in the New York Times: In Hong Kong, where health checks are being conducted on passengers arriving at the city’s airport, janitors put up fresh sheets of plastic film over elevator buttons so that any sick people pressing … Continue reading
How to Protect Yourself, And Your Family, from Getting or Spreading Swine Flu: Dr. Joe Bresee of the CDC’s Influenza Division
Accurate health information on Swine Flu from Dr. Joe Bresee (of the CDC’s Influenza Division):
According to Time magazine, four to six months: [E]ven if the CDC‘s seed stock of virus were to be released to vaccine makers today, it would take the companies anywhere from four to six months before the first inoculation could … Continue reading
Outside your garret, voices. And you might use them. But you prefer the inner mausoleum of desk drawers and the burial shawls of clean white paper. It’s a cover, you say, for you really are the bee which through the … Continue reading
Arlen Specter: Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find … Continue reading
If Republicans can’t hold their moderates, how will they win elections? Today, in the New York Times, is an article on Republicans’ larger problem: not just losing a moderate like Arlen Specter, but the party’s increased ideological marginalization (such as on issues like gay equality). … Continue reading
Obsidian Wings recently invited a guest blog post on swine flu, co-written by an immunologist and bioethicist. The advice that they offered on swine flu amounted to a list of Albert Camus-like existential responsibilities that we have to one another in … Continue reading
A Small Bit of Swine Flu Good News: Some Hospitals in Mexico Are Seeing a Decline of Reported Cases from Their Peaks
So says AP: Amid the alarm, there was a spot of good news. The number of new cases reported by Mexico‘s largest government hospitals has been declining the past three days, Cordova said, from 141 on Saturday to 119 on … Continue reading
So according to a new Washington Post poll. That’s the lowest Republican self-identification in over 25 years. Just one in five Americans is now openly Republican. Imagine. And what’s left of the Republican Party seems to be veering towards the … Continue reading
And if you don’t have any of these symptoms, and are out and about today, wash your hands frequently. This today in the Los Angeles Times: The symptoms of swine flu are nearly identical to those of other influenza, including … Continue reading
On Saturday, I Saw Chris Hedges, One of My Favorite Authors, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
I admit it. If Chris Hedges had a fan club, and sent its members David Cassidy-like studio photos and groovy stickers for your school folders, I’d join it. And on Saturday, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA, he … Continue reading
Conservative Republican David Broder, writing in the Washington Post, wants to whisk it all under the rug. No investigations of Bush era officials. Nothing. Broder just wants to move on. Here’s his advice to Obama: If ever there were a time … Continue reading