Saturday, May 2, 2009

What I've Been Up To

It hasn't had much to do with blogging.

funny pictures of dogs with captions
Image credit: I Has A Hot Dog

I've been trying to figure out how to do a new job (unpaid, of course), and trying to figure out how to do new tricks with software. It hasn't left much time for writing, though. At least I've been able to keep the stick off the road most of the time.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here's a thought on swine flu from George W. at Decrepit Old Fool:

Yesterday someone expressed real anxiety to me that they might have swine flu. No respiratory problems, just an upset tummy. Folks, swine flu is a respiratory illness that presents like an unusually strong case of regular flu, which kills about 30,000 people a year in this country. That’s fifteen 9/11’s if you prefer, or 2,300 Columbine massacres, if you want get extremely silly about it. And besides, good information is out there for people who want the straight dope.

Life In Not Really Normal

Another place to get good information is at Effect Measure, a blog that's about public health issues. Here's what they had to say Friday on the issue of closing our borders to Mexico to stop the spread of swine flu:

Closing US borders with Mexico for swine flu is fruitless since the virus is already planted in a dozen or more countries. And while right wing xenophobes are trying to blame Mexican immigrants, most of the international spread has come from commercial travelers, either tourists or business people. If we had sealed the borders, would it have included all American nationals in Mexico? Somehow I don't think so. Maybe I'm too cynical.

Swine Flu: Borderline Insanity

One of the frustrating things about discussing issues like this with the sort of folks EM was referring to is that they never even bother to look stuff up. It's only people who are reasonable who bother to do that. As a result, it's often much harder to debunk nonsense than it is to create it in the first place. On that note, I must say that I'm very disappointed with what former Slobber and Spittle Blue candidate, and now Representative Eric Massa had to say on this issue:

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) said the border should be closed until the threat is resolved.

"The public needs to be aware of the serious threat of swine flu, and we need to close our borders to Mexico immediately and completely until this is resolved," Massa said in a statement.

"I am making this announcement because I see this as a serious threat to the health of the American public and I do not believe this issue is receiving the attention it needs to have in the news," Massa said.

Lawmaker Wants Border Closed over Swine Flu

This statement was released a week ago, but even at that time the situation had already gotten out of hand. There are many reasons for that, which I'll try to go into at a later time. Suffice to say that, as with investigating food poisoning, there is always going to be a lag time between the first appearance of a disease and its detection. By the time it's been detected, hundreds of people could have been contaminated and then travelled elsewhere. As the EM article mentions, many of the infectious cases are tied to people who travelled to Mexico and returned.

This isn't rocket science. So, shame on the gentleman from New York.


Dana Hunter said...

At least you don't have an actual tree in your jaws. Yet.

This swine flu hysteria, I hate to say, has been amusing. And it certainly separates the thinkers from the panickers... Poor Eric. Alas, being a Slobber and Spittle Blue candidate doesn't immunize one from becoming an idiot.

Cujo359 said...

It certainly doesn't immunize one from behaving like an idiot. He's distinguished himself at other times, though. I haven't mentioned those times, partly because it's expected behavior, and partly because I just hate writing about how right I was about something. I hate writing about how wrong I was, too, of course. It's just that the latter practice seems more necessary.

As someone reminded me, the first version of the 1918 swine flu was comparatively benign, and then it mutated. Still, there's no sense worrying too much about it. It could just as easily mutate into something even more benign. Ordinary influenza kills thousands of Americans every year. Hopefully, they'll make vaccines that will work for A/H1N1 and get them widely distributed in time.