Tag Archives: plague


rat paratrooper, stencil graffitiIt’s almost as if – despite our advancing technologies – all the health risks we considered dead and buried are coming back again. You’ve probably already heard about the resurgence of tuberculosis, but you might not have heard about the Bartonella bacteria, a newly emerging family of zoonotic pathogens – in other words, bacteria transmitted by rat fleas that have the potential to cause a variety of maladies in human beings, from serious heart disease to nervous system infections. [image by yaraaa]

All we need right now is a new plague, on top of everything else we have to deal with. But then again, Bird Flu was the new plague a few years ago, and despite all the yammering and media panic nothing really happened at all… [story via MetaFilter]

Global warming and the Plague (yeah, that Plague)

plague-towerOutbreaks of bubonic plague in the U.S. might be linked to climate change in the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists from Norway, The US and Sweden found that the number of infections in the US seemed to shift along with changing climate conditions known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

The outbreaks seemed to occur during times of warm, wet conditions, authors wrote in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Global warming might mean fewer cases in a hotter, drier North America, but parts of the world expected to see warmer, moister tempertures might not be so lucky.

[Plague tower, Austria by celesteh]

The Real Bioweapons Threat Is Homegrown

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In order to protect its citizens from terrorist bioweapons, the United States government has undertaken a massive expansion in bioweapons research. I recall articles several years back that worried this kind of crash program might not be in our long-term best interests. Although nothing catastrophic has happened yet, it seems the authors of those articles might have been on to something. There have been a whole series of accidents at labs in the last few years, including accidental infections or exposures to tularemia, brucellosis, Q fever, anthrax, Valley Fever and tuberculosis. [image by tedsblog]

PEACE IN OUR TIME by Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn‘s “Peace In Our Time” is a story about the last man standing, when war is fought by machines.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Peace In Our Time

by Carrie Vaughn

Two trumpets in harmony called Taps through a cemetery at the edge of a winter prairie. The congregation stayed rigid, forced to stillness by the song. Ken and I stood on the other side of the grave, apart from the others. The last sad note held, echoing with the wind, and faded. Ken shut off the digital player, and I presented the flag.

The words came rote. I didn’t hear myself saying them. They were a continuation of the recording.

“On behalf of the United States of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Eternity presents this token of respect and appreciation for your husband’s service to his country.”

We had a recording of Taps because no one could play it on horn anymore. Matt Barber was the last one I knew who could do it, and he died five years ago. I gave the flag to his son at his funeral.

I had done this so many times, given tightly folded triangles of American flags to widows, sons, daughters, grandchildren. No matter what cheap funeral plan was picked, the tradition is everything that matters. I never wanted to give away one. When I was twenty-one and coming home from China I thought I was done with death. But it started again, a dozen or so years ago. Now, I watched my friends fall to old age, and once again there was nothing I could do but stand at their funerals. I hated this duty then and I hated it now. But someone had to do it. Someone had to stand at attention by the caskets, play Taps, and carry the flag to the family.

There were only two of us left. Continue reading PEACE IN OUR TIME by Carrie Vaughn