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September 30, 2005

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Flipping on Nightline last night, was proud of you DemFromCT for being so far ahead of the curve on this one, and actually doing something about it.

They mentioned a new "flu czar" at the UN. Do you have anything to say about him?

And Frist said, if I heard right, that there is an effective vaccine and bottleneck is in getting it produced. Is that accurate?

(I am sure you will reply with a link back to Flu Wiki, but I did just look there and had trouble finding that information. If I can say this in an unhurtful way, the site is so terrifically full of information I have a hard time using it. If you're interested in hearing thoughts on organization I'd be glad to give some -- if you're like me, it's hard when you already know a topic well to figure out how to present it to someone (me in this case) who knows nothing. One starter thought: you might have at the top of the page a weekly news section, with status reports on (for today) (1) Congressional funding, (2) vaccine or antiviral production status, (3) this UN appointment, if that's anything -- you get the idea. Just a paragraph on each. Right now the site is terrific for in-depth research but lends itself less, at least in my hands, to quick reference. Hope you don't mind my butting in my two cents on it.)

No, I welcome the comments. Use the index (v for vaccine) or look on the Main page where it says "i am looking for an answer".

There's also a tip of the week to the R with a link to the senate action.

It's impossible to anticipate what everyone wants, but most want their immediate need addressed at the top of the main page!

write me for more suggestions. we'd love input.

I have to tell you, this week, it's all coming together.

Don't know about the flu czar. And the vaccine is experimental, still in clinical trial, and 6 months away from existing in any great numbers. each US citizen would need 2 shots at curent dosing.

UN's new avian flu czar David Nabarro sez, avian flu will be a pandemic and only question is whether it will kill just 5 million or up to 150 million. Used to work for WHO.

Will keep an eye out for more on him... not even sure what a UN flu czar is capable of, whether that kind of position can be made useful or if it's a new development (how many czars have they got?)

I would think that people living in gateway cities on the Coasts, West especially (and Amsterdam, because of its historical connection with Indonesia), should be especially vigilant and prepared. But as we saw with SARS, it depends on where the cases originate, and Toronto was hard hit by SARS.

As MB has pointed out, Australia is a major tourist contributor. But with modern airports, everyone is at risk.

Let's get political. First read is all over this flu thing. Bush needs it for his rehab program.

At risk of being thought of as somehow similar to William Bennett in his recent comments, I'm going to say here that all this mega-death stuff comes under the category of "when the deer overpopulate the meadow, drastic events follow."

What the world needs - since we refuse to base our collective national policies on any understanding of rational truth - is a "Darwinian disease" of epic proportions. By "Darwinian disease" I mean something where the ability to foresee outcomes from current events that is supposed to be hard-wired into the neo-cortex of "Homo Sap" (unfortunately, history proves that "Sapiens" is "a fact not in evidence") once again becomes a survival characteristic.

If AIDS had had the fatality level of Marburg Disease - and been as preventable by use of the neocortex as AIDS is (don't engage in the activities that put you in harm's way, which are well-known and easily adhered to, if you aren't a moron) - we might have had a chance of reducing world population to some level where the survivors had a chance of creating a better world.

We've gone from a population of 1 billion worldwide sometime in the late 19th century to a population of 6 billion-plus a century later. Somewhere along the line, this sort of unsustainable growth has to run into the same limits the deer population runs into after a wet winter followed by a dry one.

Since we are mostly "sap" instead of "sapiens" and unwilling to alter behavior in the face of facts, nature is going to whack us till we cease to be the cancer on the planet that human beings now are.

7.5 million deaths from flu? What we as a species who don't have the ability to perform interstellar travel and only have one planet left that we have to stop treating like a Dixie cup - who refuse to learn - need is a death rate at least 50 times that.

And no, I don't think only the Third World should face that. In fact, a higher death rate in the U.S. (which has 5% of the world's population and steals 30% of the world's resources) would be a Good Thing for Planet Earth.

TCinLA, I understand the impetus, but I think it's fair to suggest the thesis will be roundly rejected by all.

Hey, I'm tough on those who don't seem to learn by their mistakes. But not that tough.

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