Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Come on, is that the best you got?

No doubt everyone has heard about the outbreak of swine influenza A (H1N1).

I am sanguine about this one for a number of reason.

The virus was identified a threat early in the outbreak. The virus seems to be transmitted by droplet. While this is worse than if it was bloodborne its better than if it was airborne. In the past the morbidity rate for these viruses are around 4% and so far seem to be responsive to the antivirals oseltamivir (prescribed under the trade name Tramiflu in Australia) and zanamivir.

Medical authorities have raise the alarm, The World Health Organisation has set the ‘global Influenza Prepardness Plan at Phase 4 which is characterized by

"...verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion..."

In Australia we have 8 million viable stocks of Tramiflu for our popualtion.
Our medical professionals have been briefed on the clinical signs and able to send samples to type the virus to confirm if it is swine influenza A (H1N1). The public is aware that if the display flu like symptoms to have them checked. Also the Government on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop included swine influenza to be a quarantinable disease in humans under the Quarantine Act 1908.

Under the Quarantine Act, people who, in the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer, are likely to have been exposed with swine flu, can be placed under surveillance until it can be established that they should either be ordered into quarantine, or it is established that they are not affected by the disease.

For myself
I am following the news, still no confirmed cases in Australia though still awaiting results on some. I am carrying out good hygiene practices and have advise co-workers if they cough anywhere near me is shall ‘kill them where they sit’. So I am fairly confident.

How about you?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Haven't we suffered enough

Many media pundits report that in hard economic times people look to lighter, funny more comforting entertainments. A benefit the makers of the Star Trek movie look to reap while the producers of ‘The Road’ agonise over their poor timing. A similar suggestion is floated for books. So of the many tragedies that can be laid at the feet of the Global Financial Crisis (so much more bloodless than The Great Depression - Redux) is it also responsible for why for the first three months of 2009, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books took the first four spots quarterly best-selling books list. Sales of Meyer's five novels accounted for 16% of all books sold. The fifth being the uncharacteristically interesting ‘young adult’ alien invasion novel ‘The Host’. Worse if you consider she was responsible for one out of every seven books sold in the last three months.

Yeah I know “if it gets the kids reading” argument.

It seems there is a contrary section of the population that when civilization crumbles they crave “Paranormal, horror and especially apocalyptic-themed novels” says St. Martin's editor Michael Homler. This is reflected in sales of two of my favorites from last year
“Wastelands a collection of post-apocalyptic short fiction just went into a fifth printing selling over 30,000 copies a little over 12 months, and The Living Dead ,over 45,000 copies in six months.

But perhaps the worse effect the GFC has had on book sales. The UK’s Guardian newspaper has reported sales of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atla’s Shrugged’ have taken a marked jump. The Ayn Rand Centre for Individual Rights claims that US-wide sales almost tripled over the first seven weeks of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

Haven’t we suffered enough in this GFC, now to have to put up with a bunch of investment banker uber capitalists with copies under one arm and fists full of government bailout bucks in the other spouting about world in which the

"men of the mind" - inventors, entrepreneurs and industrialists - withdraw their labour from a society intent on bleeding them dry with taxes and regulations. Furious at being exploited by the government on behalf of the masses, who are described as "parasites" and "moochers", the striking capitalists retreat to a camp in the mountains of Colorado, protected by a special holographic shield. Starved of their genius, society collapses and wars break out until eventually bureaucrats are forced to beg the rebels' leader, John Galt, to take over the economy.

If you don’t believe it read some of

Monday, April 13, 2009

Japanese Education System continues to outstrip US, Australia & Europe

Sorry but a festival about a guy who dies and then comes back makes me tad uncomfortable.

A few posts back I mentioned the Onion panel discussion on whether or not the current crop of computer games: Left4Dead, Fallout3 or Fallen Earth are adequately preparing our children for the post apocalyptic world.

Japan has taken this to the next logical step.

Sure some of you may claim this may traumatize the little tykes, though I will say from a survey of the_weapon his only comments were: ‘Why didn’t they aim for the head’ and ‘bring it’.

Anyway is a preemptive scarring, like exposing your kids to chicken pox so that they don’t get it as an adult.

However Japan you and I are going to have words about this