Monday, December 29, 2003

One weird side effect of the flu. Pessimism. I don't think i've been this 'down', 'negative' and pessimistic in years. And there's no logical reason for it, other than the flu virus.
It's official... HON - News : CDC: Flu Outbreak Now an Epidemic

Flu deaths may exceed 36,000 in 2003-4

Influenza researchers say this year they expect the death toll nationwide from flu-related complications to surpass the average of 36,000.

The majority of flu deaths are among the elderly. Apparently the average deaths run inthe 20,000 to 30,000 per year range. So nothing new here. Only difference this year is it's getting media attention. Maybe because mortality is moving slightly outside the elderly.

What to do if you're sick.

One thing i can add... this bug is *really* contagious. Don't go out if you're sick. Don't go to work. Don't visit anyone. If you do have to go out, wear a face mask or carry a handkerchief. And cover your mouth when you cough! The dry cough spreads the virus.
The flu of 2003-2004

Everyone in our house has the flu. Including me. And it is clear to me, after a week of coughing my lungs out and huddling under the covers, that this is a deadly serious illness.

This disease is going to kill a bunch of people before the flu season ends.

I'm nearly 60, and in fairly good health. But I don't know if I'd have survived, had I been 10 years older. I went on the web and tried to get mortality statistics from the CDC. Curiously, the CDC web page on the flu seems to be written in consciously difficult language. All I can tell after three readings is that it's an epidemic, mortality is above statitical norm, and the flu vaccine is gone. Non-existant. Out of stock. Sold out.

I don't think this is 'the big one' like the influenza outbreak of 1918. But it's a sobering warning. A new flu pandemic could kill millions world-wide,without warning. And there's apparently little that our damned fine techological society can do. No more than the society of 1918. Perhaps there is one thing our modern techological society could do differently, and better. We could watch each other die in real time thanks to television and the web.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein

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