Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu

Swine Flu is the news today. According to the Center for Disease Control, it isn't all that different any other virulent form of flu. We catch it from other humans the same way. We try to avoid it the same way. We treat it the same way. It's especially dangerous for the same categories of humans; young, elderly, & others with weak or undeveloped immune systems. The panic seems to be fixated on the word Swine rather than on Flu, like if we catch it we grow hooves & oink, & the fact that current vaccines probably don't immunize against it, . But reasonably healthy people get it like any other flu, become sick, & recover. It isn't transmitted by eating pork. If you eat undercooked pork, you should stop anyway, it can make you very ill.

Pandemics are disruptive as well as deadly. Hospital emergency rooms overflow (which spreads the disease); schools close; day care centers, senior housing & nursing homes are at great risk; workplace absenteeism rises; & everyone tries to avoid crowds. Although the mortality rate in America would be low, the deaths & costs add up. & poor countries would be devastated.
News website founded by Star-Ledger writers who took the buy-out last December. Lean & easy to navigate. Like it or not, this is one form of news journalism in the post-print world. Although local weeklies & smaller market dailies may hang on (with websites), the era of the huge, big city newsroom is coming to a close. I don't know what these writers will do when their buy-out money runs out. The Star-Ledger was visibly weakened when they left.
N.J. Supreme Court will not hear appeal of beach-access ruling

On principle, I'm not crazy about this ruling against the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection, which sought more public parking & rest rooms in tony Avalon NJ. But it would have cost Avalon millions, & it would have constituted a heavy, unfunded local mandate. Some other shore towns are far more exclusive, & they all owe us for beach replenishment. Even where there is reasonable access, I've noticed that Jerseyans are not packing the beaches in shore towns with no convenient snack bars & amusements. Beaches in those places are sparsely used on weekdays, & there's plenty of space for a blanket on weekends. Boardwalk towns attract the big crowds, for good reason. But avoid Sandy Hook during the summer. Besides being crowded, noisy, & dirty, I've seen people brazenly digging up plants & shellfish beds, not a Park Ranger in sight to stop them.

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Not exactly on topic, but today IS my fourth blogosphere anniversary in blogtopia (yes, skippy coined that phrase!)
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