Posts Tagged ‘swine flu’

In a 1993 essay, author Michael Crichton wrote, ” […] along with many other American industries, the American media produce a product of very poor quality. Its information is not reliable, it has too much chrome and glitz, its doors rattle, it breaks down almost immediately, and it’s sold without warranty. It’s flashy but it’s basically junk.”

All too often, legitimately newsworthy events go unnoticed, especially if they happen during (for example) the third or fourth day of coverage after the death of a famous notorious pop culture icon. I’m not saying that Michael Jackson’s passing was not news, nor that it was not tragic, but I believe that even he would have been embarrassed by the sheer quantity of glitz and glamour that was troweled onto his grave by the mass media.

Here are a few items which I believe went sorely under-reported during 2009:

1. Possible cure for MS (multiple sclerosis)

I think we can probably hazard a guess as to why this one didn’t make the news; major pharmaceutical companies make a great deal of money from the drugs used to treat MS – approximately $25,000 per patient per year.

2. Northeast Passage opened

The continuing thaw in Arctic sea ice has opened the northeast passage for trade; while this has some positive implications for international business, one can only imagine that Moscow is not thrilled with a commercial shipping route running so close to some of its main oil and gas fields. On top of that, the new drilling opportunities being created by the vanishing ice cap are being fought over quite fiercely already, and this can only intensify – leading, in all likelihood, to further destruction of said ice cap.

3. US Patent Application 20090010962 – Genetically Engineered Swine Influenza Virus and Uses Thereof

This might be totally benign, but one has to wonder exactly what the deal is.

Got any more? Drop me a comment and let me know!

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So I do not, in fact, have the swine flu.

Thanks to everybody who expressed their concern, here and elsewhere.

Apparently there are a couple of viruses doing the rounds which present with roughly the same symptoms, which I’m sure makes things inconvenient for those in the medical profession.

So I picked up the test results in writing on Monday afternoon, figuring that I could report back in to my employer that all was well, and be back to work as quickly as I left.

Yeah. WOW, was there ever a lot of red tape to go through in order to return to work, across multiple departments and requiring approval from all over the place. One would think that official test results, in writing, would be sufficient, but apparently not.

So I didn’t in fact go back to work yesterday as I had planned.

I am back today, with an extra three and a half days’ work on my plate. Fun!

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So the World Health Organization has now declared a Phase 6 global pandemic.


In these days of information overload and the constant barrage of news, I fear I am becoming inured to the kind of concern that such a pronouncement should theoretically elicit.

In this instance, it’s hard to get worked up about it because the disease itself has thus far been relatively mild in an overwhelming majority of cases. A mutated strain may emerge with much stronger symptoms, and at that point it will become very much a concern.

For now, though, I’m not about to run to the store and stock up on non-perishable food items and toiletries.

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