Posts Tagged ‘Disease’

Quote note (#328)

Formally, this isn’t a new ‘Boldmug’ argument, but it’s stated neatly here:

Whether you choose to think about it or not, I have a very simple explanation of Anglo-American success as it relates to democracy. […] If you see democracy as a pest, like Dutch elm disease, it makes perfect sense. Dutch elm disease originates in China. Therefore, Chinese elms are resistant to Dutch elm disease. But not immune! It’s still a crippling disease in China. But the trees live. […] The result of globalization: Chinese elms dominate the world. And hybrids. An elm does not live, anywhere in the world, unless its DNA is mostly Chinese. It would be a mistake to conclude from this that Dutch elm disease is good for elm trees, and the Chinese should export it to everyone. Unless they’re just plain evil. […] All we have to observe, to show that this is the case, is to show that politics in the Anglo-American tradition (don’t forget, Marx wrote in the British Library, and his column appeared in the New York Tribune), (a) frequently causes serious damage to Anglo-American countries, and (b) always or almost always has two results in other countries: it either causes massive, traumatic disasters, or brings the country under effective Anglo-American supervision, and/or both.

Continue Reading

February 6, 2017admin 151 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Media ADHD

Richard Fernandez asks a question that has been nagging at a number of people: How did this stop being a story?

The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak on record has reached nearly 7,000 in West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation. […] The toll of 6,928 dead showed a leap of just over 1,200 since the WHO released its previous report on Wednesday, according to a Reuters news agency report. […] The UN health agency did not provide any explanation for the abrupt increase, but the figures, published on its website, appeared to include previously unreported deaths. […] … Just over 16,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola since the outbreak was confirmed in the forests of remote southeastern Guinea in March, according to the WHO data that covered the three hardest-hit countries. …

Is it because the epidemic has remained geographically concentrated, that’s expected to hold, and Sierra Leone (where cases are “soaring” with the “country … reporting around 400 to 500 new cases each week for several weeks”) has been written off? Or is the world media scared it had begun to bore people?

Continue Reading

December 5, 2014admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Media
TAGGED WITH : , , ,

Chaos Patch (#32)

(Open thread, and links.)

Ebola! Stories from Nigeria (good) and Europe (not so good). Contagion math (and from Taleb). “The End of the World: it’s sooner than you think.” Ebola as a morbid cultural indicator. Oddness and lunacy.

Fertility transitions and dysgenics. (Related.)

Some (old) background to Singularity and time preference. There’s a lot more to discuss about technology, reaction, and time horizons at some point (given time).

Secrets.

Taking trolls seriously.

Dampier on van Creveld on sexual privilege. Mangan on masculinity and politics. Goddesses and man at Harvard. Phalanx: “… we envision a group of men meeting regularly to do things like the following: Go to church …”

Continue Reading

October 19, 2014admin 29 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , ,

Ebola Ultimate

As panic theory, this text is high art. Crunched for maximum alarm-intensity:

There are a lot of very lethal viruses in the world, and Ebola is not the most lethal or most easy transmittable, but the main thing which makes me worry about it is the steadiness of its exponential infection curve. … The main stunning feature of it is that the curve is moving straight forward (small downward bump in May-June may be explained by the efforts of existing medical services in Africa to curb the epidemic before services had been overwhelmed). This exponential growth must be stopped, or humanity will face a global catastrophe, and it may start a downward spiral towards extinction; moreover, some estimates suggest that pandemic doubling time is actually two weeks (because of underreporting of actual cases), so in five months, seven billion will be infected: total infection, by July 2015. … Such catastrophes may not mean total human extinction, as only around 70% of people infected currently die from Ebola (and even less because we don’t know, or share, asymptomatic cases), but still, this means the end of the world as we know it. This virus is the first step towards the road of full extinction … If the virus will mutate quickly, there will be many different strains of it, so it will ultimately create a multi-pandemic. … Some of the strains may became airborne, or have higher transmission rates, but the main risk from multi-pandemic is that it overcomes defenses provided by the natural variability of the human genome and immunity. (By the way, the human genome variability is very low because of the recent bottle neck in the history of our population. …) … We are almost clones from the view point of genetic variability typical for natural populations. […] The Human race is very unique – it has very large population but very small genetic diversity. It means that it is more susceptible to pandemics. […] Also, a large homogenous population is ideal for breeding different strains of infection. … If the genetic diversity of a pathogen is bigger than human diversity, than it could cause a near total extinction, and also, large and homogenous populations help breed such a diversity of pathogens feeding on the population. … [embedded link] … “The Ebola virus can survive for several days outside the body” [link] … “It is infectious as breathable 0.8 to 1.2-μm laboratory-generated droplets” … “Also many of the greatest plagues mankind has ever known were not airborne: e.g. smallpox.” …

Continue Reading

October 13, 2014admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Chaos Patch (#30)

(Open thread, and stuff.)

Too much Ebola news and commentary to process, from speculative nightmares of various kinds, to historical reminiscences, neo-Puritan panic attacks, border disputes, alarm calls, and conspiracy theory.

Ron Paul, John Glanton, and Keith Preston walk into a bar. The bartender says: “OK, break it up gentlemen.” (Jordan Bloom should get it.) Related.

Eugenics around the back.

The game has changed.

Crabby thoughts.

An unfortunate invention.

Continue Reading

October 5, 2014admin 44 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , ,

Abstract Threat

John Michael Greer muses on the topic of Ebola (in a typically luxuriant post, ultimately heading somewhere else):

According to the World Health Organization, the number of cases of Ebola in the current epidemic is doubling every twenty days, and could reach 1.4 million by the beginning of 2015. Let’s round down, and say that there are one million cases on January 1, 2015. Let’s also assume for the sake of the experiment that the doubling time stays the same. Assuming that nothing interrupts the continued spread of the virus, and cases continue to double every twenty days, in what month of what year will the total number of cases equal the human population of this planet? […] … the steps that could keep Ebola from spreading to the rest of the Third World are not being taken. Unless massive resources are committed to that task soon — as in before the end of this year — the possibility exists that when the pandemic finally winds down a few years from now, two to three billion people could be dead. We need to consider the possibility that the peak of global population is no longer an abstraction set comfortably off somewhere in the future. It may be knocking at the future’s door right now, shaking with fever and dripping blood from its gums.

The eventual scale of the Ebola outbreak is a known unknown. A number of people between a few thousand and several billion will die, and an uncertain probability distribution could be attached to these figures — we know, at least approximately, where the question marks are. Before the present outbreak began, in December 2013 (in Guinea), Ebola was of course known to exist, but at that stage the occurrence of an outbreak — and not merely its course — was an unknown. Before the Ebola virus was scientifically identified (in 1976), the specific pathogen was an unknown member of a known class. With each step backwards, we advance in abstraction, towards the acknowledgement of threats of a ‘black swan‘ type. Great Filter X-risk is a prominent model of such abstract threat.

Continue Reading

October 3, 2014admin 37 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Horror
TAGGED WITH : , , ,

Ebola Links

Don’t be alarmed: “Ebola now has its first diagnosis in the U.S., and while concerning, it’s not entirely surprising. Given how interconnected our world is, the CDC has long said that it’s possible Ebola could make it here, though it’s unlikely it would spread widely. Here’s what you need to know …” (Well, maybe just a little alarmed. (Or …))

Ezra Klein is on my unbelievably annoying people list, but he was only a kid when he got there, and this (interview) is really good work. Some additional recent articles, in escalating order of panic, plus some geopolitical complication.

EbolaChan02

Continue Reading

October 1, 2014admin 15 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , ,

Ebola-Chan

140731Ebola-jpg

Continue Reading

September 20, 2014admin 34 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , , ,

Quote notes (#103)

The Ebola outbreak could blow over, and eventually be seen as a major health crisis, but one that was ultimately controlled. On the other hand:

MONROVIA, Liberia – Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including blood-stained sheets and mattresses.

The violence in the West Point slum occurred late Saturday and was led by residents angry that patients were brought to the holding center from other parts of Monrovia, Tolbert Nyenswah, assistant health minister, said Sunday.

Up to 30 patients were staying at the center and many of them fled at the time of the raid, said Nyenswah. Once they are located they will be transferred to the Ebola center at Monrovia’s largest hospital, he said.

West Point residents went on a “looting spree,” stealing items from the clinic that were likely infected, said a senior police official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press. The residents took medical equipment and mattresses and sheets that had bloodstains, he said.

“All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients,” the official said, adding that he now feared “the whole of West Point will be infected.”

(Incredibly, it gets worse.)

ADDED: Bryce sent this along.

August 18, 2014admin 2 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion
TAGGED WITH : , , ,