I like the TED talks, small mini-lectures on a variety of fascinating subjects. Great way to spend a few minutes before getting back to work.
Yesterday I was watching one such talk comparing avian flu to the 1918 flu epidemic. The speaker was very knowledgeable and there was certainly an “oh-jeez-we’re-all-doomed” tone to the whole thing. I then caught myself – “Wait a minute, it’s swine flu today”. And got a little ticked off. Not at the speaker, but at the fact that the same exact tone she was using is the one in use today for H1N1. Well, fine. But H5N1 turned out to be a bust, dinnit?
And then there’s THIS little gem, from today:
“The swine flu pandemic could kill millions and cause anarchy in the world’s poorest nations unless £900m can be raised from rich countries to pay for vaccines and antiviral medicines, says a UN report leaked to the Observer.”
Certainly raising public awareness about these things can, in some cases, be contributory to lessening their expected impact. For the most part, though, it turns out to be mere fear-mongering on the part of the media – and I’ve seen some articles in the past few months which could be viewed as trying to insert that fear into EMS.
Not caution, mind you – caution is a good thing. It’s the whole, “Look out or it’s gonna GET YOU” bullshit that’s continually shoveled our way.
So, for the younger of you, take my hand as DTs returns us to those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear and see a few of the things which were going to kill us… but not too far back or we’ll be here all day. DTs dons the cloak of The Ghost of Bullshit Fearmongering Past.
In 1972 it was Global Cooling. Yes, we were all going to be buried under massive sheets of advancing glaciers…
In 1976 it was Red Dye #2 – “My God, Henry, don’t EAT that M&M!”
Skip the eighties, I wasn’t there much of the time anyway…
In 1993 it was the Hantavirus.
In 1997 every time it rained, or if the sun came out, or if the wind blew it was… El Nino, come to kill us all.
Lessee here, West Nile was unavoidably 100% fatal in 2002, got that… SARS in 2003, okay… Mad Cow also in 2003, busy year… Bird Flu in 2007, well well… now Swine Flu.
Kee-ryst. And of course, I left out Anthrax (check your mailbox, 2001), Ebola, Dengue fever, Global Warming.
DTs has survived ’em all, so either he’s one tough mother, or –
but wait, the news is on:
“Tonight on the 6 o’clock news: This common household chemical will kill you – while you sleep. We’ll tell you what it is, right after traffic and the weather!”
Shhh. This might be important.
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