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jerryking : virulence   5

The causes: The roots of hatred
September 20th, 2001| The Economist

America defends its interests, sometimes skilfully, sometimes clumsily, just as other countries do. Since power, like nature, abhors a vacuum, it steps into places where disorder reigns. On the whole, it should do so more, not less, often. Of all the great powers in history, it is probably the least territorial, the most idealistic. Muslims in particular should note that the armed interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, both led by America, were attacks on Christian regimes in support of Muslim victims. In neither did the United States stand to make any material gain; in neither were its vital interests, conventionally defined, at stake. Those who criticise America's leadership of the world's capitalist system—a far from perfect affair—should remember that it has brought more wealth and better living standards to more people than any other in history. And those who regret America's triumph in the cold war should stop to think how the world would look if the Soviet Union had won. America's policies may have earned it enemies. But in truth, it is difficult to find plausible explanations for the virulence of last week's attacks, except in the envy, hatred and moral confusion of those who plotted and perpetrated them.
cold_war  root_cause  anti-Americanism  disorder  international_system  national_interests  superpowers  leadership  U.S.  virulence 
june 2012 by jerryking
Gut Infections Are Growing Much More Lethal -
Published: March 19, 2012

Gastrointestinal infections are killing more and more people in the United States and have become a particular threat to the elderly, according to new data released last week. Deaths from the infections more than doubled from 1999 to 2007, to more than 17,000 a year from 7,000 a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Of those who died, 83 percent were over age 65.

Two thirds of the deaths were caused by a bacterium, Clostridium difficile, which people often contract in hospitals and nursing homes, particularly when they have been taking antibiotics. The bacteria have grown increasingly virulent and resistant to treatment in recent years.

But researchers were surprised to discover that the second leading cause of death from this type of illness was the norovirus. It causes a highly contagious infection, sometimes called winter vomiting illness, that can spread rapidly on cruise ships and in prisons, dormitories and hospitals.
bacteria  mens'_health  digestive_systems  colons  colorectal  viruses  virulence  guts  lethality  microbes  microbiome  infections  Clostridium_difficile  gastrointestinal 
march 2012 by jerryking
Terror is nasty, but what about that flu pandemic?
12 July 2005 | Globe and Mail pg .13. | by Jeffrey Simpson.That's the thing about flu. It can travel fast, and it can be virulent. By the time a vaccine is produced, many people in infected areas can die.

SARS showed how fast diseases can travel. Once SARS appeared in China, people in five countries were infected within 24 hours, and in 30 countries within several months; 43 people died in Canada. The Canadian Tourism Commission estimated that SARS cost the economy $419-million. The cost to Ontario's health-care system exceeded $700-million.

The U.S. National Intelligence Council, looking ahead to 2020, says a global pandemic is the single most important threat to the global economy. The growing literature about the likelihood of a pandemic, probably a flu one, is filled with quasi-apocalyptic material: millions dead, billions of dollars of commerce disrupted, serious security risks.

Michael Osterholm, a U.S. public-health expert, writes: "A pandemic is coming. It could be caused by H5N1 or by another novel [flu] strain. It could happen tonight, next year, or even 10 years from now." The number of poultry and wildlife that carry the strain(s) has exploded. Should these deadly strains get into the human food chain, watch out.
pandemics  Jeffrey_Simpson  threats  H1N1  SARS  vaccines  WHO  flu_outbreaks  food_chains  virulence  global_economy  security_&_intelligence  the_single_most_important  viruses 
october 2011 by jerryking
The 21st century's Hiroshima
Aug 6, 2005 | The Globe and Mail pg. A.17 | Preston Manning. The same science that can be used to develop genetically-based cures for human diseases can also be used to produce mutated smallpox bacteria or influenza viruses even more virulent than their predecessors and highly resistant to any known treatment. And if the sun of human progress should again become obscured by the storm clouds of war -- war itself transformed by the increasing scope and sophistication of terrorism -- how long will it be before the plan for utilizing mutated viruses and terrorist-induced pandemics as instruments of mass destruction appears on the underground blackboard of some terrorist cell capable of implementing it?

The third pebble

What exactly is the most disruptive and lethal dimension of the "dark side" of the life sciences -- the genetic equivalent of the first A-bomb -- and how might this destructive force be delivered to target populations to accomplish the political purposes of those desiring to unleash it?

While a terrorist attack on military or civilian populations utilizing such techniques would have immediate impacts on public health, the greater damage to human life and society will most likely be through the panic and terror that such a biological attack or pandemic will trigger throughout the general population. And this panic won't be transmitted by air, water, or utility system, but by the mass-communications network of 21st-century society, in particular the electronic media of radio, television, the Internet, cell phones, and personal computing devices. It is the electronic mass media that will most likely prove to be the B-29s of the age of genetics and bioterrorism.
21st._century  atoms_&_bits  bioterrorism  dark_side  digital_media  disease  DNA  genetics  life_sciences  mass_media  pandemics  panics  Preston_Manning  ripple_effects  terrorism  threats  virulence  viruses  WWI  WWII 
october 2011 by jerryking

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