Re: [OPE-L] Neo-Black Death?

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Mar 18 2006 - 10:00:21 EST

> For a real change of pace, see the novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, The
> Years of Rice and Salt. Starting from the premise of the Black Death
> wiping out 90% of Europe's population rather than 33% and tracing an
> alternate history to the present, it focuses upon Islam, the
> orientation toward invention, etc but also upon China.

Hi Mike L,

Worst case scenarios for the avian flu show a  decline in population
of 50%!  Projections for the US in this worst-case scenario (which
assumes that the bird flu will mutate such that human-to-human infection
happens) call for a depopulation of the East Coast and California.
In that scenario, 'red states' tend to make out better than 'blue states'.
[No doubt, religious fundamentalists of all persuasions would claim
that this was divine retribution: the Apocalypse delivered from the
sky by God's feathered angels of death.]  Also, less populated regions
fare better than urban areas; capitalists, of course, fare better than the
working class.

Supposedly, the US military is now tracking birds traveling from Asia
on their way to Alaska and then points East and South. [Vancouver
would be hard hit, no doubt, in the worst case scenario.] Meanwhile,
the US government is advising people to stock up with bottled
water and canned tuna and be prepared to be self-sufficient for
months if necessary.  [This story has provided quite a bit of material,
ironically, for late-night comedy.]

How much of this is real vs. hype remains to be seen.  Anything
that gets the attention of the public away from the various scandals
associated with the Bush administration might be seen as
desirable from their perspective.  An instance of wag the birds'
tail feathers, perhaps?

Speaking of scandals, I've got to log-off and get myself ready for
an anti-war demonstration.

In solidarity, Jerry

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