February 27, 2006

Bugs of Mass Destruction Several countries in the past (and not so distant past) have used insects infected with diseases such as plague, cholera and malaria as weapons to - well basically kill a lot of people. The first recorded incident was allegedly in 600 BC. And in keeping in line with the original article which rambles from point to point, here is an in-depth look at the possible causes of the infamous 10 Plagues of Egypt.

And also more info on the Nazi attempt to halt Allies in Italy with malaria epidemic attack. And if that hasn't got you worried enough you can read all about the various insect borne diseases currently kicking around the globe. But the news is not all bad - Australian researchers are confident that they may have a vaccine for malaria, drug tactics have cut childhood malaria by 86%, and at the University of Montana they are training bees to detect land mines. So relax, spray noxious chemicals about, and avagoodweegend (albeit in a few days time).

  • Oh poop. Stick a "to halt" there in between "attempt" and "Allies". k. thanx.
  • And just in case I didn't post enough links here is the poem Green and Gold Malaria by Rupert McCall, sales of which is helping to fund the research into a vaccine for malaria.
  • Stick a "to halt" there in between "attempt" and "Allies". Okey dokey.
  • thanks tracicle!
  • "...the infamous 10 Plagues of Egypt..." Mythical.
  • Yeah, everyone knows there were actually only 91/2 plagues. And that 1/2 one was just when a bunch of guys got really drunk and misplaced the keys for their chariots. Awesome linkery, gomi!
  • as bees forage for nectar and pollen, they attract particles of dust, soil and pollen to their fuzzy, statically charged bodies .... "Bees are like flying dustmops..." *sigh* Told ye I was unkempt.
  • *hands bees tiny miniature vacuum-cleaner* Splendid linkage, gomi, thanks!
  • I too am amazed at the link-fu. ))! And bees, don't worry you'll clean up when you do the "pollen's-over-there-fellows" dance.
  • Drones don't do that dance, though the worker-bees do. Drones usually limit themselves to dancing the old dance, but worker-bees, being sterile, haven't a clue about that.
  • Ah, Bees, come live with me, and you can be a kempt man! probably the fourth or fifth offer he's had from shameless maidens today already
  • Wow GramMa you're on a roll tonight. Alpha-Bits for breakfast was it? :)
  • gomichild thanks so much for this fascinating series of links! I am very interested in the role of disease in history, adding the human manipulation angle is a whole nother level of wow. As I am SURE I have mentioned here before, I highly recommend, to those of you obsessed with disease, death and destruction The Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence and no, I am not George Kohn.
  • oooo Medusa that book sounds fascinating! *adds to her wish list*
  • > Australian researchers are confident that they may have a vaccine for malaria thankfully (and about time too), there are several promising vaccine projects: mozambique trials, gambia trials (related uk-based). the malaria vaccine initiative. uk-based monkeys can volunteer for the oxford trials. mechanism of malaria: a fascinating read.
  • He got a case of the aguuuuuuuuuuue
  • Kudos on excellent postage, it's the bees' knees!
  • gomi, I have found it very handy, in fact I once consulted it for a comment here re: the dates of Justinian's plague....handy!
  • Handy and good bed time reading it looks! I wonder though how much we have learned from these past experiences? Couls SARS have been much worse than it was because people understood they needed to take precautions? Will we evade pandemic Bird Flu (if it mutates) by using what we know?
  • "Mongol tartars, sieging the port city of Feodosia (then Kaffa) on the Black Sea, finally broke the three-year siege by catapulting plague-infested cadavers over the walls of the city." (From the "600 BC" link.) This must become a scene in a movie at some point. The image is just too freaking awesome.
  • Actually, Pete, it wasn't Alpha-Bits, it was my Sam's Club Extrey Extrey Raazins Bran--I lubs me them extrey extrey raazins!
  • "..finally broke the three-year siege by catapulting plague-infested cadavers over the walls of the city.." It wasn't such a remarkable occurence; it was common to hurl bodies of the slain enemy and dead animals into a besieged town with a mangonel, or some-such siege-engine. This was both psychological warfare as well as hoping to spread filth within the walls. Remember that the ancients did not understand the mechanism for the spread of disease, so the outcome of the Feodosia carcass-assault was probably an unforseen boon. I forget who it was, I think it may have been Alexander, who in some siege, rounded up all the cats from the city outside its walls, tied burning brands to their tails, and let them free. They ran home, of course, and set the city alight in doing so. I can't for the life of me remember the details of this, whether it was Alexander or cats, or dogs, or whatnot. My google-fu fails me.
  • It was Gengis Khan at the seige of Wolohai. And cats and pigeons. And burning oakum - never seen a cat big enough to pull a branding iron. Well, there's this one, but if you had access to cats that large, you'd be better off training them to claw the enemy than using them as incendiary devices.
  • No, it was Saruman at Helm's Deep. And Pippin and Merry.
  • I love their chocolate!
  • brand n. 6. A piece of burning or charred wood. Dammit! Well... uh... wood's heavy too! ::Runs away::