Swine Flu and Appocolypse

Hurray! We have been a bit low on end of the world news lately. Finally we have some good fodder to scare little children.

The US has declared a public health emergency! Send in some clowns, lets have a parade, and party hardy! Doomsayers unite in celebration.

But of course we are talking about the fourth horse of the Apocalypse. Usually called ashen but at times I've read green. It is the final of four. It is a winner of an apocalyptic vision.

The ashen horse sounds very nasty. It brings death with swords, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. Crikey!

If you don’t die from a gaping sword wound, he starves you. If you don’t starve, you get a deadly disease. If the disease does not kill you quick enough, how about pestilence, which we can only guess is ultra nasty like the Black Plague? If that's not enough, then some animal is going to eat you!

Why even have the other horsemen when you have this guy. The other horsemen are just an opening act to warm up the audience.

Swine flu is just part of the forth horseman's job. It is in the news, so let's look closer at this as a flu pandemic.

Bird flu is scary only because it spreads via birds. Generic Swine Flu is not scary because pigs are rather lazy and don’t travel business class.

People live with their pigs and pigs are very close to us genetically. So most bugs that will kill a pig, will kill us. Add the conditions of pig farms that would help a nasty bug grow, and you get a flu that could kill billions. The bigger of the pandemics killed millions. They were all swine flu.

As I write this, lots of people are already dead in Mexico from this deadly strain. You might be reading this a bit late to buy a surgical mask, but that’s how a blog works. If this is the beginning of the end, well… I suggest you subscribe to this blog now so that you get a little quicker warning... should you survive.

Have you ever been on a plane and not be allowed to get off because someone was sick? I have.

On a trip be between Japan and Dallas, we found that a few people were very ill. Paramedics in gloves and masks entered the plane and examined the possible carriers of nasty disease. Lucky for us, they could not pin it down to something nasty. They did offer to take the entire plane to the hospital if they felt compromised. Really!

You don’t see it often, but quarantines happens a lot. Sadly this usually it is just blind luck if we catch Typhoid Mary traveling in coach. The problem is incubation.

Pandemics don’t just happen. They require a lot of travel, long incubation times, and be easy to transmit.

Incubation is the time from when you get infected to the time you are infectious. One issue with many diseases is that they don’t seem deadly until you are showing signs of dying. The usual course for a killer flu is feeling like you have a cold, then the flu, and then you get really bad and croak.

Because the flu starts out feeling like a cold, you go to work, school, and attend events like football games. Simply, you don’t feel too bad about giving the rest of the world the sniffles.

Our whole society works this way. Germs are invisible, so we don’t know we are spreading them. Sickness is also a fact of life. Unless you can’t get out of bed, we get out of bed and spread our germ infested snot to the four corners of the world.

With the long incubation, most defenses are too little, and too late. You are sneezing before you know that the pandemic is out there.

Things can get worse if there is a vaccine. Where are the biggest crowds of sick people? Standing in line to get a vaccine. Wear a mask and wash your hands!

Another problem with the flu is that it often targets the old and the young for death. Seems fine if you are 25 and healthy, right? Problem is that people in their 60’s think they are 25 with a few aches and gray hairs.

There are some tricks to avoid getting sick during a pandemic. Don’t get within 50 feet of anyone. Don’t touch anything. Wear a surgical mask at all times. Just imagine the world is made up of snot. Wash your hands twenty-five times a day. Maybe the world will end, but you will safely starve to death in the safety of your germ free world.

One last thought. If this is a public health emergency, what about the private sector?

Funny, but please take note

Seriously, the public health emergency is real. The comment about immunizations is sort of a joke. Immunizations can save lives. I would still wear a mask and wash my hands.

CORRECTION: This strain of flu has yet to pan out. While you hear of deaths from this strain, the good old fashioned flu has been quietly killing thousands. Isn't media hype wonderful?

Here are a couple of links:


Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Phd Doomsayer

I never would have thought it, but there’s a doomsayer named Bruce. Bruce is a mathematician and political scientist, or rather a historian that has a spreadsheet.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Phd is a mathematical fortune teller. He uses game theory and data to make his predictions.

I’d explain game theory, but it is easy to summarize as simply math about games. Sorry for dodging the issue, but it is math and this is a book on the end of the world.

You might wonder how I know about Bruce. If you guessed that I met him at Disney Land, you would be partially right. Disney advertises on the History Channel and thus sponsored a show that compared Bruce and his predictions to Nostradamus. Yes, it is a Mickey Mouse connection, but it is all I have.

No angels, aliens, or even volcanoes. Bruce just predicts nasty stuff like terrorists, wars, economic collapse, Bush, and other ways the world can end by mankind’s hand.

The History Channel is sneaky. They compare Bruce to Nostradamus. Because Nostradamus predicted the Antichrist, then Bruce could at any moment predict the moment of Armageddon. It also meant that they could use all the Nostradamus archival footage to make the documentary about Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Phd a two hour special at half the cost.

I love the History Channel. It’s very brave of Disney to support the doomsayer documentary community. Perhaps I should plan my next dream vacation in Disney Land…

Unlike some doomsayers, Bruce does not seem to take mind altering drugs. He is not part of a doom cult. He even has gainful employment as a professor and does odd jobs for the CIA.

The only fishy smell of course is that he does work for the CIA. You can’t see his equations and you can’t be sure it’s all true. The History Channel assures us that he is as good as Nostradamus, so you don’t need to bother with any inconvenient evidence.

But what has Brian produced that gives us an inkling of the end of the world? Funny thing about that, not much. For most of the documentary he sits on a park bench, either drawing on a napkin or typing into his computer. He does not seem too worried about the end of the world.

I worry that he isn’t paid well. He used a lot of napkins. Somebody should buy him a proper notebook.

Brian isn’t all doom and gloom. He believes the future can be changed. That’s so different for a doomsayer that it is like a cool drink of lemon aid on a hot day. Of course it could be hot because of nuclear war. The trick you need to listen to the good doctor on how you might change the world to prevent its end.

There is a bit of the doctor’s info out there. But most of it is in the History Channel program that heralds Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Phd as the next Nostradamus. But the only real predictions put forward were from Nostradamus, not thee good doctor.

Oh, one problem. The data, the equations, the predicted apocalypse and the important advice to avoid it, is probably locked up in the basement of the CIA.

Great! Good news, math and science can predict the end and even avoid it. Bad news, the information is too important for you to see any of the answers.


More Lost Souls to Fight in Antichrist's Army

According to a story about somebody else's statistics on religion in America since 1990, faith is down 11%. This is bad for the remaining religious. Fewer will be on the side of good in the last battle. This also means the side of evil may have some new soldiers, but more about that in a moment.

Think about it, fewer kids going to church means more conscripts in the  Antichrist's army. These folks have to come from someplace and that means the numbers have to be subtracted from the good guys. It is like the devil is getting the first draft choice and gets extra players.

This might be good too. All depends on how you count the numbers. For example, their are 6.8% more people without religion between 1990 and 2008. If we assume these are all atheists, then they are the Swiss in the battle at Armageddon. 

If this 6.8% are agnostic, then we have a toss up. Given the track record of God not taking new recruits (remember Noah didn't take on new passengers once it started raining), then the agnostics might have only one choice. There are also 2.9% more people that didn't answer or didn't know. These could also be agnostics and definitely fall into that bucket of possible evil army recruits. 

A minor issue is that this survey does nothing for us in terms of choosing the right religion for the end times. It is still a tossup as to who is actually speaking to god. Even the Muslims give a poor showing with an increase of 0.3%. That is hardly an endorsement. My only advice is to pray to all the gods and ask forgiveness for playing the field.

The really bad news is for Protestants. Their numbers are down 5.8%.  That's like getting two of your players in the penalty box at the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's  fair to say it is bad for the home team. If Protestants are the right sect (i.e. the one true religion), then they have their work cut out for themselves to represent good.

Good is supposed to triumph over evil. But I wouldn't be too quick about thinking that. Why have a battle unless it is a reasonably fair fight with out any miracles. If God isn't going to cheat, you should look at the scorecards before you assume who is going to win. 

Anyone taking bets?


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