September 2007 Archives

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BBC Newsflash! "Evil" avian flu seeks "world domination!"

By Michael Fumento

Somehow I missed it, but a BBC video from June of this year, now available on YouTube, is the most alarmist thing I have seen or read on pandemic avian flu.

"If you were a terrorist wanting to design a biologic weapon, you couldn't do better than designing a virus like this," claims Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic within the first few seconds. "This is really nature's bio-terrorism." Later he informs us that, "The best scientific evidence is that one or two mutations will be enough to allow this virus to attach easily to human cells and thereby spread from one human to another."

We know now, from the research of David Finkelstein and his colleagues, it would actually take 11 or 12 mutations. Perhaps news of this research hadn't reached Poland in time, but his "best scientific evidence" is a pure fabrication.

Poland also informs us that what "really sent chills through the spines of virologists and vaccinologists, was the recognition that this virus [avian flu H5N1] had now jumped species from birds into mammals." Doubtful. Birds and non-human mammals (particularly swine, apparently) appear to play a vital role in each year's seasonal influenza. A team of researchers led by St. Jude's Robert Webster wrote in the journal Virology that, "most of the influenza virus genes that have appeared in mammalian gene pools over the past 30 years have been shown ultimately to have an avian origin."

Yes, some people will do or say anything to appear on the "telly."

Repeatedly the fear-umentary makes bizarre personifications of the virus, with the narrator more than once insisting the virus seeks "world domination." A Scots doctor tells us, "The human population has never been faced by a virus like this before. This is an utterly evil virus." Do these tiny pieces of protein come complete with Adolf Hitler mustaches?

The narrator also claims, "The virus has started to jump from birds to humans." Actually, the first reported bird-to-human cases were in 1997. It's said that Europeans have a longer view than Americans, but I suspect even Britons wouldn't consider events of a decade ago to be "just."

The only "just" aspect of this video is that it's just plain awful.

September 23, 2007 07:50 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)

One Flew Over the Bird Flu's Nest

By Michael Fumento

New scientific discoveries keep eating away at the prophecy that "bird flu," avian influenza type H5N1, will become readily transmissible from human to human and unleash a disastrous pandemic. This leaves little but rhetoric and those big, terrifying, huge, terrifying (Did I already say that?) numbers that panic purveyors throw around based on nothing more than extrapolations from baselines of their own choosing. Read about it in my new American Spectator piece.

September 16, 2007 09:40 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)

In little ways, you see the obesity epidemic march on

By Michael Fumento

First, Britney Spears, who is literally paid millions of dollars to be in shape, cannot do so. (It's not like she's a singer or anything.) I'd just die for a body like she had. Um, well, you get my drift. Her next song should be "Feed Me Baby One More Time."

I'm reminded of a story I told in my "The Fat of the Land" obesity book in which an actor who was slated to play Tarzan to Bo Derek's Jane, complete with semi-nude scenes, lost the job because he couldn't lose weight! For Bo Derek!

But then again, the medical files are replete with people told they'll die without an operation but that they can't be operated on until they lose some weight. So they die.

And finally, while waiting at the drug store yesterday to pick up a prescription there were five people in front of me. All obese. I'm sure they were all just getting allergy medicine like I was. The one directly in front of me had a half gallon of ice cream in his beefy left hand while the beefy right hand contained two boxes of South Beach Diet bars. Ya can't make these things up!

September 14, 2007 11:15 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Obesity

Avian flu wipes out Sydney, Australia!

By Michael Fumento

Okay, not exactly.

Last December one blogger whose website was devoted entirely to avian flu predicted a 50-50 chance of a pandemic within the next year. I offered the blogger and any other taker not 2 to 1 odds but rather 10 to 1 odds that it wouldn't happen.

Curiously, each entity I specifically challenged chickened out. They couldn't get permission from their mothers, stuff like that. One of the chickens was a crank named Crawford Kilian who authors the - or shall we say the, H5N1 Blog. He pretends to be the ultimate resource on avian flu developments but refuses to link to anything I write. On the other hand, he has now seen fit to link to an online novel in which pandemic flu kills the entire population of Sydney, Australia (4.3 million) save for 300 souls. After all, in tackling such an important issue you have to have priorities.

September 3, 2007 11:31 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)