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The most predictable disaster in the history of the human race


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#1 AnBr

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 01:55 PM

http://www.vox.com/2...es-flu-pandemic

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But lately, Gates has been obsessing over a dark question: what's likeliest to kill more than 10 million human beings in the next 20 years? He ticks off the disaster movie stuff — "big volcanic explosion, gigantic earthquake, asteroid" — but says the more he learns about them, the more he realizes the probability is "very low."

...

Pandemic disease is something our culture thinks about, knows about, fears. It's so topmost on our minds and in our nightmares that we've created an elaborate metaphorical architecture so we can talk about it even with people who are too scared to talk about it. We think about it so much, it seems almost ridiculous that we aren't ready. But we're not. Not even close.


“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

— Carl Sagan


Pray for Trump: Psalm 109:8

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
1995


“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

— H.L. Mencken
On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Second inaugural address January, 1937

#2 Bact PhD

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 04:15 PM

I would say Mr. Gates is spot-on. Bird flu (2003-ish) and Ebola (2014) were warning signs, shots across the bow, if you will. I'd say some form of influenza is the most likely candidate for "Plague or Pestilence of the 21st Century", but a mosquito- or flea/tick-borne illness is eminently possible.
Politics these days is show business. Elections are Dancing with the Stars with consequences. ~Rue Bella

(About fame) Living for likes, shares and follows is a form of validation. The question is whether it is also the source of our self esteem. If it is, we’re screwed. And, culturally, it seems as if it’s become more and more our shared value. ... Meringue is no longer a sweet and pretty topping but the body itself. ~Charles Perez

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384, via LFC, 12/1/2016

Competent people go in one of a few directions. But incompetence is infinite. ~David Brooks, NY Times

#3 golden_valley

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 08:46 PM

Flu or drug resistant bacteria? People have forgotten how terrible disease is. That's why vaccination has fallen into disrepute. That's why insurance health coverage isn't seen as necessary for the general population.

#4 LFC

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 09:52 AM

Nothing new. I've been reading this for well over a decade. The most frequent example given is the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918. I've read different death toll estimates but one I just glanced at said it was 3%-5% of the population. The population of the world is now much denser and there is a lot more mobility to transport any new flu strain much faster and more efficiently.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#5 indy

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:54 PM

An interesting article. The billionaire preppers.

http://www.newyorker...-the-super-rich

Quote

As public institutions deteriorate, élite anxiety has emerged as a gauge of our national predicament. “Why do people who are envied for being so powerful appear to be so afraid?” Johnson asked. “What does that really tell us about our system?” He added, “It’s a very odd thing. You’re basically seeing that the people who’ve been the best at reading the tea leaves—the ones with the most resources, because that’s how they made their money—are now the ones most preparing to pull the rip cord and jump out of the plane.”


#6 Bact PhD

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:09 PM

View Postindy, on 01 February 2017 - 08:54 PM, said:

An interesting article. The billionaire preppers.

http://www.newyorker...-the-super-rich
Holy shit -- they're aware enough that the tumbrels are a possibility, but not aware enough that "an ounce of prevention would be worth a pound" of bailing out.
Oh, yeah, the credo is "I got mine, f*** you."

As an aside, not long ago I was watching a couple of documentaries relating the history shortly before WWI. Taking the narratives together, I drew the conclusion that had it not been for the likes of T Roosevelt, we could well have descended into chaos similar to that in Russia circa 1917 or Italian-style Fascism.
Politics these days is show business. Elections are Dancing with the Stars with consequences. ~Rue Bella

(About fame) Living for likes, shares and follows is a form of validation. The question is whether it is also the source of our self esteem. If it is, we’re screwed. And, culturally, it seems as if it’s become more and more our shared value. ... Meringue is no longer a sweet and pretty topping but the body itself. ~Charles Perez

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384, via LFC, 12/1/2016

Competent people go in one of a few directions. But incompetence is infinite. ~David Brooks, NY Times

#7 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 12:08 PM

View PostBact PhD, on 01 February 2017 - 10:09 PM, said:

Holy shit -- they're aware enough that the tumbrels are a possibility, but not aware enough that "an ounce of prevention would be worth a pound" of bailing out.
Oh, yeah, the credo is "I got mine, f*** you."

As an aside, not long ago I was watching a couple of documentaries relating the history shortly before WWI. Taking the narratives together, I drew the conclusion that had it not been for the likes of T Roosevelt, we could well have descended into chaos similar to that in Russia circa 1917 or Italian-style Fascism.

Now we have Orangemandias, so it was only delayed?

Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#8 LFC

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 12:56 PM

More from Vox on the potential for an upcoming pandemic.

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“There is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people.”

That’s from the opening paragraph of a major new report on our current state of pandemic preparedness. It doesn’t get much more optimistic from there.

This is the first annual report authored by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent panel of experts convened by the World Bank and the World Health Organization “to provide the most frank assessments and recommendations possible.”

They very frankly warn that the risk of a global pandemic is growing. The next big one to hit us could be naturally occurring, deliberately created, or accidentally released. Although we’ve got new vaccines and drugs that previous generations didn’t have access to, we’ve also got new developments working against us.

Scientific advances have made it possible for disease-causing microorganisms to be engineered or recreated in labs, or to escape labs when explosions and other accidents occur. Our robust transportation infrastructure makes it easy for travelers to pick up a disease in one country, fly across an ocean, and spread the disease to another country within hours. Increased urbanization and population growth also exacerbate the spread of disease.

And then there’s climate change, which causes natural disasters that strain national health systems, weakening their ability to efficiently respond to outbreaks. Global warming is also expanding mosquito habitats, which means we’ll likely be seeing more mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika, dengue, and yellow fever — including in the US and Europe.

The convergence of these trends is making us all more susceptible to what the report calls “global catastrophic biological risks.” We’re not prepared to handle them. To change that, the report states, we need to act decisively now. But there’s a lack of political will to do that.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#9 Rue Bella

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 01:51 PM

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To change that, the report states, we need to act decisively now. But there’s a lack of political will to do that.

Any monies set aside to either prevent or fight a pandemic reaching the US likely would be purloined to help build The Wall to prevent a different kind of 'infestation'.
What is wrong with these people? ~ PG

California Secession - Let my people go!

#10 golden_valley

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:59 PM

View PostRue Bella, on 19 September 2019 - 01:51 PM, said:

Any monies set aside to either prevent or fight a pandemic reaching the US likely would be purloined to help build The Wall to prevent a different kind of 'infestation'.

Diseases can spread from birds or animals (like swine) via mosquitos...no wall stops that and no ban on immigration from certain countries will either. We'll need a whole dome over the country.

#11 Bact PhD

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 09:37 PM

I’m really gonna be a Debbie Downer on this one.

I’ve probably said it before; it isn’t “whether” the next pandemic hits, but “when” and “what bacterium or virus is causing it.” (Edited to delete redundancy)

Worse, and the quoted Vox passage only alluded to “accidental release,” is what on earth is squirreled away in the republics of the former Soviet Union? How secure are those materials?
Politics these days is show business. Elections are Dancing with the Stars with consequences. ~Rue Bella

(About fame) Living for likes, shares and follows is a form of validation. The question is whether it is also the source of our self esteem. If it is, we’re screwed. And, culturally, it seems as if it’s become more and more our shared value. ... Meringue is no longer a sweet and pretty topping but the body itself. ~Charles Perez

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384, via LFC, 12/1/2016

Competent people go in one of a few directions. But incompetence is infinite. ~David Brooks, NY Times

#12 golden_valley

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 09:47 PM

Well Debbie Downer your above post scares the crap outta me. When I think about the Cold War and all the things that came out of it...trying to find a drug to wipe out consciousness to aid in mind control...various poison delivery systems that our own people were doing plus things that probably haven't been revealed...I'm sure the opponents were doing no less and that stuff is out there somewhere.

#13 LFC

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:24 AM

View PostBact PhD, on 19 September 2019 - 09:37 PM, said:

Worse, and the quoted Vox passage only alluded to “accidental release,” is what on earth is squirreled away in the republics of the former Soviet Union? How secure are those materials?

Oh, puh-leeeaaazzeee. What could possibly go wrong?
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#14 Bact PhD

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 11:47 AM

View PostLFC, on 20 September 2019 - 08:24 AM, said:



Oh, puh-leeeaaazzeee. What could possibly go wrong?

Holy crap, almost right on cue!

In all seriousness, it’s frighteningly easy for things to go wrong, even, as the article points out, among conscientious, trained people. BTDT—albeit briefly— in BL-3 [1] work.

My concern is what might be stashed in places like Ukraine or the “-stans”, stuff that’s now under the jurisdiction of those governments.


[1] BL-3 is the second-highest level of bio safety containment. Employed for things like the organisms that cause tularemia and brucellosis. BL-4 is the highest, used for smallpox, Ebola viruses, e.g.

Politics these days is show business. Elections are Dancing with the Stars with consequences. ~Rue Bella

(About fame) Living for likes, shares and follows is a form of validation. The question is whether it is also the source of our self esteem. If it is, we’re screwed. And, culturally, it seems as if it’s become more and more our shared value. ... Meringue is no longer a sweet and pretty topping but the body itself. ~Charles Perez

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384, via LFC, 12/1/2016

Competent people go in one of a few directions. But incompetence is infinite. ~David Brooks, NY Times

#15 Rue Bella

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 04:51 PM

A decade of so ago I became concerned about H5N1 bird flu possibly starting a pandemic. Following that chapter was very eye-opening. Not only how fast it could happen, but all the possible ramifications medically, socially. If an extreme pandemic were to happen (er, ...when it does happen) we will be on our own pretty quickly. The earthquake supplies will be doing double duty.

Remember SARS? We dodged a bullet there too.
What is wrong with these people? ~ PG

California Secession - Let my people go!

#16 J-CA

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:07 PM

View PostRue Bella, on 20 September 2019 - 04:51 PM, said:

Remember SARS? We dodged a bullet there too.
The other good news with SARS, with all due respect to the personal tragedies for everyone directly affected by the outbreak, is that we need the odd bullet to dodge. As the decline in vaccination demonstrates complacency is the enemy, in the age of budget cuts upon budget cuts we need to stay vigilant that certain areas of public health is treated as non-negotiable even if we may not see the benefits on a regular basis.
I am the burrito until someone hands me to a philosopher.

#17 golden_valley

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 06:01 PM

Is anyone in PA planning to go to the Philadelphia "Spit Spreads Death" parade reenactment and exhibit?

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The public will be a key part of the parade. People can sign up as patient representatives, marching in honor of individual flu victims who died in Philadelphia on the pandemic’s deadliest day.

During the world premiere of choral music composed by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang and sung by the Crossing, a Grammy-winning Philadelphia choir, the names of all 751 of those victims will be called out.
As the music plays from participants’ cellphones, each patient representative will pass alone between two illuminated, 20-foot-long floats in a moment of commemoration.


The grim spectacle has a purpose: to reflect on historic losses and an all-too-modern health crisis. According to the CDC, 49 million people in the United States were infected with influenza in 2018 alone. About 79,000 of those people died. The CDC estimates that 80 percent of flu-associated deaths in children occurred among children who had not been vaccinated.






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