Bird Flu Redux

Saturday, 16 May 2009

I can’t resist writing about this: Human noses too cold for bird flu.

All of that panic in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and it turns out that we can’t even incubate the virus properly because human noses are generally not the same temperature as bird guts.  Or something like that.

Long-time readers (if there are still any around) may remember that this Max never bought into the panic.

My first bird flu post in November 2005 decried the $7.1 billion that then “President” Bush had pledged to fight bird flu.  It also pointed out that War Secretary Rumsfeld had declined to sell his shares in Gilead Sciences, owners of the patent for the antiviral drug Tamiflu.  Instead Rumsfeld announced that he would not participate in government when it was dealing with bird flu related issues.  What a guy.

My post in December 2005 shared information from MedPage Today of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, which basically told people not to panic and not to take Tamiflu unless they actually had a normal human flu.  That page is still there, with the title Avian Flu Deaths Linked to Tamiflu Resistance.

I then left bird flu alone until February 2007 when the H5N1 virus hit a turkey farm in England.  The authorities there announced that they were going to kill 159,000 turkeys to prevent the spread of the virus.  And I wrote that by February 2007, only 165 people worldwide had died of avian influenza and the virus had not mutated to pass from human to human.

And now we know why.

Of course we also now have a new flu to instil panic, which may or may not turn out to be worthy of that panic.  Here are my 2 favourite things about that virus:

“They said we would have a black president when pigs fly.  One hundred days in… swine flu.”

and today this:

Swine flu fears could delay Hajj.  Oh, the delicious irony.


Max comments on the BBC World Service poll

Wednesday, 2 April 2008
bbc globescan world opinion poll

What a load of shit. Talk to stupid, uninformed people, and you get stupid, uninformed ideas. No, that’s not fair. Talk to people that are too easily influenced by the mainstream media and you get the opinions that are being shoved down their throats.

The BBC survey of world opinion talked to 17,457 people in 34 countries from October 2007 to January 2008. Those surveyed were asked to rate Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the US, and the EU as having mainly a positive or negative influence in the world. A summary of the results is in the table above.

I shall now take the survey myself and then comment on the other 17,457 people’s collective answers. But only concerning the interesting countries, and I will work my way down the table.

Please tell me if you think each of the following countries is having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world.

Germany – okay, probably positive. But what strikes me is how quickly we recover from history. I was in Munich at the weekend. C took me to see Königsplatz, where the Nazis held their rallies, and to the Olympic Park, the scene of a PLO terror operation that ended in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes. I just find it funny that Germany got the highest rating.

EU – negative. First, I don’t like centralised government. Second, anyone who has a positive view is clearly not a non EU citizen living within the EU. I am. The EU makes me angry.

France – totally positive. I like good food and drink and it’s a stunning country.

Great Britain – mostly positive, but with reservations. Britain is historically great and gave rise to the modern concept of freedom with the Magna Carta way back in the year 1215. But today Britain is a surveillance society. British Airways and the British Airports Authority have totally fucked up the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, which has been making me laugh since last Thursday. Britain is also too accommodating to Islamists and too full of people who look down on Americans.

China – totally negative. Human rights, toys, military build-up, IP theft, MSG… And I tend to think that the Beijing Olympics are going to be a disaster.

Russia – negative. Putin, oligarchy, Litvinenko, Chechnya, Politkovskaya. You can’t trust the Russians. Good vodka, though.

US – mostly positive, but with reservations. I know I criticise The Amerika a lot, but it’s my country and I’m supposed to. I hate the war in Iraq and I hate the current administration and I am sure that our next president won’t change anything. However, the US is the single largest donor of foreign economic aid. We do most of our giving privately, which keeps money out of the hands of governments to the greatest extent possible. We still have freedom of speech and powerful dissent. The US also seems to be judged by harsher standards even whilst it has a more difficult role in the world. It’s not all fun and games being a superpower, you know. At any rate, it’s just retarded that the US is below China, India, and Russia. Give me a fucking break.

North Korea – totally negative. Where the hell did they find the 23% with the positive view?

Israel – overall, positive. Although the Iranians must be wondering how they did even worse. Of course Israel is not perfect. But you try being the only democracy of any sort in the Middle East. You try being the runty Jewish kid on the edge of a playground filled with Arab bullies. There are probably more misconceptions about Israel than about any other country in the poll, for which I would primarily blame Arab propaganda and a misguided press. For the 52% of you who see Israel as a negative influence in the world, try looking for the truth behind the politics and the propaganda and you might begin to see things differently.

This week’s mumbo-jumbo

Friday, 8 February 2008


It was a brilliant statement, the kind that incenses everyone and leads to an overwhelming backlash. Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Church of England, declared that certain aspects of Sharia law should be adopted in the United Kingdom. What an ass.

I had picked up a couple of books at the airport on my way back from London last week. One of them was Londonistan by Melanie Phillips, which I am reading now. Ms Phillips’ writing style is slightly hysterical and the book is repetitive and not very well structured, but it seems to be well researched and it is captivating reading. Londonistan is strongly reminiscent of Oriana Fallaci’s writings on a similar topic.

And in Londonistan, Melanie Phillips warns against people like Dr Williams – British public figures that kowtow to Muslims and Islam. People that are willing to compromise their own culture and traditions so that they won’t be branded as racists. People that don’t understand the nature of Islam or of Sharia law.

Dr Williams said that the approach that there is “one law for everybody and that’s all there is to be said…is a bit of a danger,” and that religious law needs to be incorporated into the UK’s legal system.

Misguided, to say the least. In fact, the opposite is true. In a country like the UK, with its long-established traditions of liberty and democracy and the system of English common law that has developed over about a millennium, there is only one law for everyone and it has to remain that way. Immigrants adapt to the laws of the country they immigrate to, not the other way round. And I’ll come right out and say it – anyone who wants Sharia law is welcome to move to a country where they already have it.

Dr Williams has opened up a big can of worms and I think that’s good – this is a topic that people should be vocal about. It is time for the British to stop compromising and to start protecting their own culture. They should stop apologising for their colonial past and they have to stop trying to make amends for it by bending over backwards to appease Muslims or anyone else.