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Ring around a Rosey, or a look at how the Black Death of the middle ages is reflected in the current outbreak of a Ebola

In the middle of the 14th century, however, there seemed to be no rational explanation for it. No one knew exactly how the Black Death was transmitted from one patient to another–according to one doctor, for example, “instantaneous death occurs when the aerial spirit escaping from the eyes of the sick man strikes the healthy person standing near and looking at the sick”–and no one knew how to prevent or treat it. Physicians relied on crude and unsophisticated techniques such as bloodletting and boil-lancing (practices that were dangerous as well as unsanitary) and superstitious practices such as burning aromatic herbs and bathing in rosewater or vinegar.

Source

In many ways we can see distinct similarities between the Black Death and the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa, Like the medieval plague then     there is no known cure for Ebola now and despite all of the wishful thinking, despite all of the advances in medicine in the last 600 years we are just as powerless to stem the spread of this disease. And I am sorry to be the bringer of bad news but I think that this disease is going to have a similar effect on the population of Africa as the Plague had on 14th century Europe. We can certainly expect that the death toll will soar into the millions as efforts to contain it continue to fail.

Why do I expect such a large death toll?

This is a virus that not only spread through the exchange of bodily fluids but also remains active in the items that those fluids fall upon, thus bedding and clothing that the infected have touched becomes vectors for the disease to reach new victims. Add to that cultural practices pertaining to the care of the sick that funds family looking after their own, a low level of education, the effects of other diseases poverty and crowded living conditions and it’s not had to see just how optimistic any suggestion that the disease can be contained are. Just look to the example of the response to one man with the disease who is now gravely ill in the United States to get some idea of just how much effort is needed if you are too truly contain the infection: This level of response is just not possible in third world west Africa and so it seems inevitable to me that the infection is going to spread exponentially just as the black death spread exponentially in 14th century Europe.

So what can the modern west do to help stem the spread of the disease in Africa?

Well not much at all really, we risk losing a large number of our very skilled people if we send them into the disease hot spots firstly because the treatment that is available essentially boils down to trying to keep patients hydrated and waiting to see who has the natural ability to fight the infection.   Those brave souls who are trying to treat the currently infected are trying to do so while wearing Hazmat suits that are essentially a fancy yellow plastic bag which I’m sure you will realize is nothing short of tortuous in the tropical climate of the region. So not only do the health workers run the very real risk of contracting the infection but also they risk dying from heatstroke in the suits they try to prevent infection with. Several health workers who have caught the Ebola virus have been evacuated so that they can be treated in Western hospitals but if the numbers of infected western heath workers were to increase I can foresee the practice of repatriating them being wound back or even abandoned in the effort to contain the disease. Aid in the form of medical supplies, certainly can and should be provided but the major imperative now has to be containment, and quarantine of all parts of Africa where the disease has been found.

The Environmental bigger picture, or accepting the will of Gaia

In the natural world there are clear limits to the population of any species. Be it the amount of substance that a particular species can find or something in the environment that find them tasty and therefore limits their numbers through predation. Human beings are very clever in their ability to eat almost anything that is nourishing and in many ways we have become the apex predator in every part of the eco-system. That in conjunction with our ability to mitigate that other limit to population, disease. Has seen our numbers soar beyond 7billion souls on this small planet. I would seem to me that pandemics are one of the ways that Gaia addresses the problem of too many people on the surface of the planet. Oh humanity certainly has dodged a bullet from pandemics in the recent past. But this disease is not going to be so easily dodged. I think that it has already reached a critical mass that makes it virtually unstoppable. Heck thanks to modern air travel I will be very surprised if is even just contained on the African continent.

 

Things are going to get a great deal worse before they get better

During the Black Death whole towns succumbed to the disease they were left with only the dead in residence sometimes the dead were not even buried and it’s not hard to imagine that happening again in Western Africa if Ebola really starts to take off as I am expecting it to do.

What we need to realize is that modern medicine is good, its clever and its largely been the bringer of better lives for all of those it has touched, from the poor children spared the mortal diseases of childhood that used to take so many children well before they reached maturity to the wonders of surgery that can see the imperfections and damages to our bodies repaired and replaced in a way that would seem magical to a medieval man contemplating the plague yet here we stand in the same place as that medieval man facing a disease pandemic that we cannot stop and a death toll that we dread will be larger than anything humanity has not seen in the last six centuries.

If this danse macabre does play up a storm it will change every aspect of global human society we could well go from a place where the people desperately compete for places in the economy to one where skilled workers will be in very short supply in many parts of the planet. The mechanized west where we already have machines that enable a very small number of people to grow the crops to feed the many or to operate the machines will probably get through this upcoming disaster well enough but any society still that practices subsistence agriculture can expect the same hard times that befell Europe after the plague because there was simply not enough people to plant and harvest the crops. Those who have been worried about climate change May well find all of their concerns are moot because a world with less people on it will not be producing anywhere near the emissions growth they are so certain is the problem. On the other hand the worlds mercantile economy is likely to be severely affected by both the loss of potential customers and the cost of trying to address the disease.

One other thing that we should recognize is that many people see the world through the lens of their religion and those religions that have a millenarian tendency may well see Ebola as some sort of divine retribution for our “sins”. A faith like Islam on the other hand which places such value in the observance of a mass gathering like their Haj could well be both a vector for the spread of the disease and suffer a huge number of casualties among its faithful.

The innocent childhood game of ring around a rosey actually has its origins in the time of the black death.

The innocent childhood game of ring around a rosey actually has its origins in the time of the black death.

The all sneer no substance academic

After recent exchanges with University of Canberra Academic Jason Wilson, I have formed the view that there is a wide gulf between his own esteem of his knowledge and intellect and the far less impressive reality.

There is no doubt that Wilson fancies himself – this is evident from his sneering during twitter debates and his presumptuous claim to know more about the Middle East than the experienced journalists at The Australian.

One of our debates concerned whether the terrorist threat in Australia was real or whether it was just a beat up. Strangely, Wilson believed that the number of non-terror related homicides was relevant to this question:

Never mind the terrorist threat. Look at the number of men killing their partners!

Never mind the terrorist threat. Look at the number of men killing their partners!

So according to Wilson’s logic, we should not be concerned about men killing their partners either, because this number is dwarfed by the number of people who die every year in motor vehicle accidents.

Moreover, there are a couple of other problems with Wilson’s argument, as I pointed out:

To pointiout the social effects of terrorism is to engage in nationalist fantasies.

“To point out the social effects of terrorism is to engage in nationalist fantasies.”

According to Jason Wilson, there is no unity in Australian society. For a fellow who deems himself to have a very sound knowledge of international affairs, this appears to show that Wilson does not understand that compared to many other countries, Australia is one of the most harmonious.

However, in spite of his pompous demeanor, the exchange shows that Wilson does not really think through the issues at all. It is plain that he has not considered that some terrorist attacks have killed thousands, and that a successful terrorist attack in Australia could well drive a wedge between mainstream Australian society and certain parts of the Muslim community. His only response is to accuse me of believing in a “nationalist fantasy”.

Finally, just today Wilson accused me of making up the fact that he supported some form of media regulation. Whilst I could not find the tweet where Wilson indicated as such to me, I was able to find an article he wrote for the Drum in 2012. Whilst the article does not endorse the  recommendations of the Finkelstein Report, the following comments reveal that Wilson does consider a free media market to be unsatisfactory and would support some form of media regulation:

It’s a shame that most of the Finkelstein Independent Media Inquiry Report will go unread by many of those who are damning it…. The problems it identifies are real enough, and pressing.

Australia has the worst concentration of media ownership in the developed world – no other country has, or likely would have, allowed things to get to this point… There are no truly effective remedies for ordinary people with few resources, whom the news media prints lies about, whose privacy is invaded, or whose careers are ruined by baseless reporting.

It is a shame that, rather than seeing the online space as cacophonous and unruly, Finkelstein didn’t instead offer ways in which diversity and sustainability might be promoted for a better media future.

As you can see, I did not “make it up”. I was right. Wilson does want media regulation.

Bring out your dead

While the Jihadists may claim to be working for Allah I tend to think that Ebola is gift from Gaia and really it was to some extent inevitable that such a pandemic would arise now that the human population has grown so much .

n the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by September 30 and 1.4 million cases by January 20 if the disease keeps spreading, without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.

[...]

At least one aid group working in Liberia is already shifting its focus to teaching people about home care and providing materials to help. Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, said, “I believe inevitably this is going to move into people’s houses, and the notion of home-based care has to play a more prominent role.” He said there could be 100,000 or more cases by the end of 2014.

“Where are they going to go?” Isaacs asked. “It’s too late. Nobody’s going to build 100,000 beds.”

Though providing home-care kits may seem like a pragmatic approach, some public health authorities said they were no substitute for beds in isolation or containment wards.

But Frieden said that home care had been used to help stamp out smallpox in Africa during the 1960s. The caregivers were often people who had survived smallpox themselves and were immune to it. Some experts have suggested that Ebola survivors might also be employed to care for the sick.

As I said in an earlier posts so it have proven to be the case that attempts to contain the disease have proven to be  utterly ineffective and sadly I don’t expect that the care in the community model will be that much better either Frankly I think that the worst case scenario in this piece is far too modest. I expect a death toll  to be orders of magnitude greater than 1.4 million cases by January 20.
Hoping to be wrong Comrades
A woman suspected of being infected with Ebola is assisted by health workers to an ambulance for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: The New York Times Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/ebola-cases-could-reach-14-million-in-4-months-cdc-estimates-20140924-10l52x.html#ixzz3EB2yhkRf

A woman suspected of being infected with Ebola is assisted by health workers to an ambulance for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: The New York Times

If clothes maketh the man ……

 (by Ray Dixon ~ fashion blogger to the manosphere)

Then Barack ‘Beige’ Obama just lost the war against the Islamic State before it even started.

obama-suit 

The ABC reports on Obama’s lack of a cunning plan:

US president Barack Obama says he has asked officials to prepare a range of military options for confronting Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and foreshadowed recruiting international partners for potential military action.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.”

We don’t have a strategy yet.

 But I think that report could have also read:

US president Barack Obama says he has asked his wife Michelle to prepare a range of suit options before he confronts Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and has foreshadowed recruiting international clothing designers for potential (and suitable) apparel.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.”

“I don’t have a decent suit yet.

 I suggest he tries khaki.

 

Foretelling the future and negating the wrath of the Gods

human_15

The thing is that as there are now many thousands of people who have studied science enough to have “qualifications” it has become a very “broad church” that has elements that can support and endorse almost any proposition. Add to that the fact that there are many millions of people who are reasonably scientifically literate and an Internet to allow anyone to engage in the previously closed shop and you have the foundations for science becoming the new secular religion of the modern world.

No more perfect example of the making science a religion exists than the branch of science that deals with our climate and trying to predict the way that it may change into the future. Because “climate science” is utterly immune to any testing by the foundational tenet of science, the scientific method, So instead of being able to test the theory of AGW (which we can’t do because we don’t have  a spare planet earth to experiment on) we the public are fed a constant stream of faith statements and dire predictions all of which are based upon some rather convoluted reasoning built upon a great deal of assumption, a little bit of (incomplete) data and huge amounts of confirmation bias, The proponents of this theory have take on a priest like role and many of their congregation argue about what they imagine will happen with the certainty of the religious zealot.

sacroficial-stone

the simple truth is always going to be that we won’t know what the future of the climate will be until it actually happens and we are going to have to adapt to any changes if and when they come. We can try to anticipate change and spend a great deal of effort and treasure in the process but what if those anticipations are based on a wrong call? That was the underlying point of Newman’s piece in the Australian. As a “clever country” we have to be able to jump which ever way we have to to survive and prosper into the future. The planet is littered with edifices to failed millenarian thinking, the temples and monuments meant to placate the gods that did not avert the expected end of humanity lets not fall into the same trap of wasted effort just because the priests of the new warming religion wear white coats and use computers instead of tearing the beating hearts out the chests of human sacrifices on the altars of their faith.

Cheers Comrades

the only certainty in life is that we will all eventually die

the only certainty in life is that we will all eventually die

Ebola and the carnival of death

click for source

click for source

 

Am I the only one who sees this event here as the beginning of a very nasty carnival of death for west Africa? Because I just can’t shake the conviction that we are going to see a tide of death flowing out of that part of the continent that will make the bubonic plague look like a mild case of the sniffles. It already seems that the official death-toll may well be underestimated and as there is no cure or even an effective treatment beyond hydration and a plaintive plea to what ever deity one holds dear.
You see disease epidemics like this one are virtually unstoppable once they get rolling and this outbreak of Ebola is certainly rolling now.
Frankly if the disease can be contained within the African continent the world will be doing very well but even on that score I have my doubts because we live in the age where anyone can be traveling the world by the perfect disease incubators/infection pods in the shape Jet airliners

Trying hard not to abandon hope here but frankly all I can foresee is a carnival of death that may soon get to the point where there are not enough of the living to inter the dead. I really hope that I am wrong in my dark expectations but I see nothing to convince me otherwise.

Pessimistic mood on this one Comrades

death-demon

Now that the ceasefire Gaza is holding please consider

It is also of no small importance that this manual belongs to the Shuja’iya Brigade. The IDF fought a major battle in the neighborhood of Shuja’iya, which had been turned into a terrorist stronghold. The discovery of this manual suggests that the destruction in Shuja’iya was always part of Hamas’ plan.

It is also of no small importance that this manual belongs to the Shuja’iya Brigade. The IDF fought a major battle in the neighborhood of Shuja’iya, which had been turned into a terrorist stronghold. The discovery of this manual suggests that the destruction in Shuja’iya was always part of Hamas’ plan.

In a portion entitled “Limiting the Use of Weapons,” the manual explains that:

The soldiers and commanders (of the IDF) must limit their use of weapons and tactics that lead to the harm and unnecessary loss of people and [destruction of] civilian facilities. It is difficult for them to get the most use out of their firearms, especially of supporting fire [e.g. artillery].

Clearly Hamas knows the IDF will limit its use of weapons in order to avoid harming civilians, including refraining from using larger firepower to support for infantry.

The manual goes on to explain that the “presence of civilians are pockets of resistance” that cause three major problems for advancing troops:

(1) Problems with opening fire
(2) Problems in controlling the civilian population during operations and afterward
(3) Assurance of supplying medical care to civilians who need it

Lastly, the manual discusses the benefits for Hamas when civilian homes are destroyed:

The destruction of civilian homes: This increases the hatred of the citizens towards the attackers [the IDF] and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders (resistance forces[i.e. Hamas]).

It is clear that Hamas actually desires the destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, knowing it will increase hatred for the IDF and support their fighters.

source

The truth is often far from pretty Comrades

NoSharia-NoJihad

 

Proof positive that the Poms are popping Peptides

(by Ray Dixon ~ Internet Sports Scientist)

Cwlth-Games-2014

I demand an inquiry!

(Apologies for the Facebook style post)

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