December 31st, 2009

At work, Self portrait

Provocative title, agreeable text

5 reasons the H1N1 flu is actually good for us (MSNBC)

Dr Schaffner has some good points, but I would add another as more important: We got a fairly realistic drill for the far more dangerous pandemics that may be waiting in the wings (quite literally). This is both good and bad. We failed: If this had been a bird flu with a 50% mortality (the actual cases were more like 2/3) civilization would have been reset to the steam age at best. Even a 10% mortality - the classical decimation - would have rendered almost everyone in grief over friends or loved ones, and done unspeakable things to the economy through removal of key personnel. And we would, as we know today, have been pretty much powerless to stop it. But we have learned at least a bit. We should be able to respond more quickly next time, to make the right choices earlier, and have a basic idea about how to reduce the spread of germs. That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Unfortunately, some were killed even this time, but overall we got away much easier than we deserved. If we truly did learn from this, it may well have been a good thing overall.

The War on Customers continues in UK

Broadband consumers to foot £500m bill to tackle online piracy (Times Online)

When I was young, we used cassettes for copying music. Here in Norway (and some other countries I know of) we paid a modest fee for each cassette, which was given to copyright holders' organization. This was regardless of whether you actually used the cassette to copy music or just to record your grandparents' golden anniversary.

Nobody considered instead making us pay an even higher fee to finance people going around and checking that the cassettes were not used to copy music.

Which goes to show that as human intelligence increases, we become able to take stupdity to new heights.
  • Current Music
    Ekseption - Have Mercy On Me (Erbarme Dich, BWV 244)