Bruce Sterling's got some pretty good advice for understanding swine flu in perspective:
People freak out over "pandemics," even though we've got one of the worst pandemics in history, AIDS, raging through the carcass of the body-politic right now. Every once in a while you see a street demo or a charity show about AIDS. Carla Bruni is pretty big on fighting AIDS. Otherwise we just drop dead of AIDS in hecatombs, and the pandemic has become our business as usual. AIDS is an extremely fearsome disease, practically 100% lethal, yet it's hard work to get people to remain properly afraid of it.
Practical Tips for Combatting Swine Flu In Your Home
*There is always some flu around and flu is always killing some people. Even when a raw mutant flu manages to kill off more people than a shooting-war, flu has never ravaged whole cities as cholera or the Black Death can do. As awful pandemics go, flu is like the snotty-nosed little sister of awful pandemics.
*So if you catch the new swine flu, you're very likely not gonna die.
*But since it is a flu, you're gonna kinda WISH you could die.
*You're not ACTUALLY gonna die unless your lips are turning blue, you have bad chest pains, you can't swallow water, you can't stand up, you're having seizures and you don't know where you are or what your name is. As this document suggests, you're gonna want to watch out for those symptoms.
Sometimes, in the course of his work, University of Florida molecular geneticist Martin Cohn must travel with unusual items like a 3D-printed mouse penis. Similarly, University of Massachusetts biologist Diane Kelly totes around anatomical models like a mold of a dolphin vagina. They’re not alone in the odd science-related items they must fly with, from […]
Rod McCullom at Undark has a terrific overview of the perpetual “virtual lineup,” where half of all American adults “are enrolled in unregulated facial recognition networks used by state and local law enforcement agencies.”
It sure feels flat, right? (Life Noggin)
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