Monday, October 17

Scare Tactics: Updated--Captain Trips

The Insta-dude links to a Corante piece that cautions against buying stock in antiviral drug companies...just yet. I agree, like I said on Atlas' thread, it's early times yet. The MSM is pimping the bird flu pandemic with its usual hysterical over-reaction and complete lack of scientific analysis of the problem.

And I noticed Macky's thread on Dr. Krauthammer also....we need to take what Dr. K says about science with a grain of salt--remember who he works for? That star chamber of ludditry, the "bioethics" council. Sheesh, those people are against cosmetic surgery and gerontology research for tanj sake. They are the 21st century equivalent of a gang of medieval villagers with pitchforks and torches.

We're not resurrecting the spanish flu for sport, it holds important clues for fighting bird flu, being an avian virus itself. And, of course, other countries are doing this if they have capability, and Asia is rapidly becoming superior to us in genetic engineering, and has actually surpassed us in some applications. Perhaps it would be in China's best interest to sell spanish flu to Al-qaeda, I don't know. But they would run the risk of infecting their own population in today's global economy.

My friend who's getting a doctorate in biochem says we are 5 to 10 years away from a pandemic, and that it will not kill in the high end estimates the MSM is plying us with, for two reasons.
1. It is influenza, It will kill a certain percentage of the population with compromised health and immune systems, the very old, the very young, the already ill.
2. Any pathogen that is too deadly to the host cannot spread effectively and will die out.

Advocating stockpiling antivirals like Tamiflu is also bad. Some percentage of the population will take the antiviral when they become ill with anything, contributing to resistance in the avian flu virus.

We've learned to discount MSM hysteria, hyperbole, and sensationalism on Iraq-- I'm cautioning you that they are that way on everything. If it bleeds it leads. I'm surprised the MSM isn't already calling it Captain Trips.

UPDATE 10.17.2005: The insta-dude and i are in complete agreement, as usual. Please note Macky and i were already discussing the New Manhattan Project in the comments two days ago. However i disagree with Joy and Kurzweil, in that Genbank should unpublish the code--of course they should! 'Member when the news website (can't remember which one) was scrubbed of the story on putting nukes aboard container ships? Same thing.
Why publish it in the first place?I imagine Genbank had some some lofty idea that all countries would work together in common cause to defeat an avian flu pandemic. Naive.
But the New Manhattan Project is a most excellent idea--let's be proactive for once. We've been given a chance to prepare for the bioterrorism equivalent of 9/11. Don't kid yourself that spanish flu is their only opportunity. It is a huge mistake to think that Islamic fundamentalists are somehow "low tech" cave-dwelling medieval savages. I imagine Iran has a bioweapons program too. We should be working agressively now on counter bioweapons.
I've changed my mind on the MSM's exploitation of scare tactics--let's exploit the MSM to elevate awareness of the problem and force more genetic engineering into government purview--Down with the "bioethics" council!!!!
And let's go right ahead and call it Captain Trips. Whatever works.

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