The Tao of Politics

One of my main concerns is: how can I make a difference? There are thousands of political blogs out there. It’s easy to get lost in that ocean. So I may blog about politics on occasion, or I may blog about health issues, depending on where my interests lead me, and where I feel I can contribute something of significance.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Tao of Bird Flu
33. A bird flu pandemic begins with a single human death. A pandemic may have already begun.

Bird Flu Notes
This is one thing that excites my imagination about bird flu, and is one reason why I write about it so much: The World Health Organization is attempting to monitor the emergence of the virus in humans with the idea that they might be able to stop it before if becomes a full-blown pandemic. This has never been possible before. It may not be possible now. But with the communications that we have now, and with computer models, etc, the world’s response to something like H5N1 is different than it has ever been in history. And we are witnessing it as it unfolds. That is exciting. On the other hand, some scientists think it is not possible to contain the disease.

We may all remember the German cat that was found to be infected with H5N1. Now several cats in Austria have been found to have bird flu. This seems to me to be an extremely unexpected and troubling development. It reminds me of the Trojans which are introduced into computers sometimes. They seem harmless, so we let them in, but they really have something dangerous inside. So it may be with the cats. I thought the German cat was an isolated incident. Cat eats dead bird, cat gets bird flu, cat dies. With the revelation that several cats now have bird flu, our family pets may become the Trojans which make our families sick, not birds directly.

Health Note
Nutritionists want a “fat tax” on soft drinks, claiming, I suppose, that they contribute to obesity. You know, I think a lot about my diet. If I gain too much weight, I try to lose it. One way to lose weight is to start counting, eliminating, and burning calories. Soft drinks contain a lot of calories. People are not going to lose weight if they consume too many calories, whether from soft drinks, or from anything else. Since, as this article says, soda is the nation’s single biggest food, it makes sense to look there when considering cutting calories. I mean, when the nutritionists drew up the food pyramid, they didn’t put soft drinks at the bottom, saying “consume more soft drinks than anything else.” And yet that, it seems, is the position the soft drinks occupy in daily life. If they would make healthy (I did not say healthier) soft drinks, that might be different. But in the meantime, if people insist on consuming so many calories that it makes them obese, then a fat tax might make sense.

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